Predicting the weather
When I was growing up in a small southern town in Arkansas I had an older gentleman who lived next door. We called him PaDud, his name was Dudley. PaDud was able to predict when storms would be moving in. He would study the sky and clouds the night before and forecast the weather for the next day. He knew if it would be a hot summer or cold winter by how animals acted. I have to say he was correct or at least most of the time.
We have heard of old myths, but they are just superstition, old wives' tales, and folklore, right? Or, are they the real way to predict the weather and how accurate are they. Scientists have always been skeptic, but a few weather experts say some superstitions have it right. Some people still use certain signs like rings around the moon, the shape of the clouds, an angry morning sky, a clap of thunder during the winter as weather predictors.
Farmers have always depended on these predictions, clouds, moon, animals, for planting their crops and when it’s time to harvest them. Many farmers have depended on the Old Farmer’s Almanac for years and still talk about the folklore and superstitions.
I did research when I wrote Whispering Fog, about folklore, myths, and superstitions the ones sailors have always believed in. Of course, the captain of the ship and the sailors used the stars to guide them, but they also paid attention to the sky. The color of the sky, the shape, size of the clouds, and which way the wind's blowing would tell them the weather forecast.
Red sky at night, sailor’s delight; red sky in the morning, sailor’s take warning
This saying is known by most sailors even today. If you get up in the morning and the sky has turned red, it’s a good chance the seas and wind are kicking up, a sign that the ocean is going to be choppy.
This means that the sun’s light is reflecting off the clouds and that could mean a storm system is building in the sky, approaching. There is some truth in this wives' tale.
This is another wives' tale that many sailors look for and live by; watching seagulls’ movements. The birds tend to know when a storm is coming in, so if seagulls start to move toward land in flocks, you may want to take a second look at the forecast.
A halo around the moon as a warning of rain or snow
The halo around the moon, the gentle white circle we sometimes see resting around the moon on cold nights, is caused by cirrus clouds. Cirrus clouds, (or seed clouds, that is what PaDud called them), are made of ice crystals rather than the water droplets that form most clouds. The cirrus clouds sit high in the sky and stretch thinly across the moon so thinly, that the moon’s light shines through and scatters, creating a halo effect. It is true that cirrus clouds could be the first clouds to increase in front of a storm system, usually a winter storm.
A round topped cloud with a flatted base, carries rainfall in its face.
Cloud formations, height, size, color and density do predict weather forecast.
Thunder in winter signal snow seven to 10 days later
Have you ever heard thunder in the winter, a strange thing to hear unless you are living in south Florida. Many people have said they believe in this old saying and if you hear thunder you can expect snow, but this is one saying I haven’t seen come true, even though people swear by it. It is uncommon to hear thunder in winter because there’s not a lot of humidity in the air.
Rain from the east, two day wet at least.
Most weather patterns travel from the west to the east, so this is a very interesting weather pattern coming from the east.
If the moon shows like a silver shield you needn’t be afraid to reap your fields.
But if she rises haloed round, soon we’ll tread on deluged ground.
People from the beginning of time have used the moon to predict the weather. According to weather myths the shape, color and location of the moon can predicts weather patterns and how plants will grow. Farmers have believed in planting their crops by using the signs of the moon. They watch for signs of rain and storms. In the fall, farmers have used the harvest moon as the time to bring in their crops.
Native American have many belief in how to predict weather by the moon. One belief is if the moon looks like it is tipped on its back, it is holding water that will not spill. If it is tipped forward the water will spill from it, in the form of rain.
Holly berries shining red mean a long winter, ‘tis said.
This saying is true, or that's what I believe. I have huge Holly bushes in my yard and we had 7 inches of snow one winter and the holly berries were shining bright red in the blanket of white.
More old wives' tales
Mourning Doves will coo waiting for more rain.
Cobwebs in the grass mean rain.
Pink clouds in the west at evening time means rain.
Yellow streaks in sunset sky, wind and daylong rain is nigh.
If horses are restless and shake their heads a lot, it means rain is on the way.
Owls will hoot more at night if rain is on the way.
Enjoy your day and look up at the sky.