weather lore

Do any of these sound familiar to you? Here are their meanings...

"Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky in morning, sailor take warning." (Red sunsets are usually followed by dry nights. A red morning sky means rain is on the way.)

"A sun-shiny shower, won't last half an hour." (Showers that happen while the sun shines are brief.)

"Mackerel sky and mare's tails make tall ships carry low sails." (Certain clouds are often followed by high winds.)

"Coming storms cause shooting corns." (Aches and pains are aggravated when a storm approaches.)

"Circle around the moon, rain or snow soon. " (caused by light shining through cirrostratus clouds associated with warm fronts and moisture) can indicate that rain will probably fall within the next three days.

"Rainbow in the morning, need for a warning. " (This is the result of the rising sun's morning rays from the east striking moisture in the west. Most major storm fronts travel west to east, and a rainbow in the west means moisture, which can mean rain is on its way.)

"When the stars begin to huddle, the earth will soon become a puddle." (When clouds increase, whole areas of stars may be hidden by clouds with groups of stars, still in the clear sky, seem to huddle together. The clouds are increasing, so the chance of rain is increasing too.)

"Clear moon, frost soon." (If the atmosphere is clear, the surface of the earth will cool rapidly as heat is radiated away at night. There is no "blanket" of clouds to keep the heat that the ground absorbed during the day from radiating back up into space. If the temperature is low enough on these clear nights and there's no wind, frost may form. )


"A cow with its tail to the West makes the weather best, A cow with its tail to the East makes the weather least " (Cows, like people, prefer not to have the wind blowing in their faces, and so typically stand with their backs to the wind. Since westerly winds typically mean arriving or continuing fair weather and easterly winds usually indicate arriving or continuing unsettled weather, a cowvane is as good a way as any of knowing what the weather will be up to for the next few hours.)


"No weather is ill, if the wind be still. " (Calm conditions, especially with clear skies, indicate the dominance of a high pressure area. Because highs are broad regions of descending air, they discourage the formation of phenomena typically associated with weather, such as clouds, wind, and precipitation. Calm conditions, though, may also result from a circumstance known as "the calm before the storm," in which a large thunderstorm cell to the west may be updrafting the westerly surface wind before it can arrive locally.)

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