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Can An Onion Predict The Weather?


From Texas Standard:

Another New Year's Eve has come and gone. For some that may mean new resolutions, or maybe just dealing with a bit of over-indulgence. But for Garry Karber, it means another night of chopping an onion, and predicting the weather. Karber is originally from the Panhandle city of Perryton. He now lives in the Central Texas town of Cameron.

He says his predictions don't require a specific kind of onion.

"You take a knife and cut it through the axis, which is the stem and the roots, so that when the halves fall apart, you can take cups out of them," Karber says.

With the onion cut, Karber separates the itinto "cups," putting the largest six cups from each half of the onion into a muffin tin. Each cup represents a month of the year to come. Next, he adds a teaspoon of salt to each onion cup and sets the tin outside on New Year's Eve.

"On New Year's Day, you go get it, and look at the salt in each one of the cups," Karber says. "If the salt is as dry as when you put it in there, it'll be a dry month… If it's moist or crusty, that'll be a moist month."

If a cup has water standing in it, the month in question will be wet, with more that 1.5 inches of rain.

Karber says his mother predicted the weather with onion cups. Both she and her mother did it for 40 years. He says the practice has been around for much longer than that.

"There's one lady in Italy who's been doing it every year, and she's almost a hundred years old," Karber says.

In the past 25 years, Karber says his onion-based predictions have been 92 percent accurate. For 2019, his data is uncertain. Heavy rains on New Year's Eve soaked his onion cups.

"I'm gonna have to retest," Karber says. "The lady in Italy says you can do a repeat test. And I've got to get back in touch with her and find out what day it is for sure."

Written by Shelly Brisbin.

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