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Blowin' in the Wind, Issue #009 - Weather folklores, predictions without meteorology. August 3, 2004
August 03, 2004

A few common weather folklores

One of the most known weather tidbits of antiquity is actually stated in the bible. Matthew 16:2 goes "You are good at reading the weather signs of the skies - red sky tonight means fair weather tomorrow; red sky in the morning means foul weather all day..." This is one of most well known ones. Often quoted as - Red sky at night, Sailors' delight, Red sky in morning, Sailors take warning.

Similarly, rainbows in the morning mean (for many of us) a wet day, while rainbows later in the day predict improving weather. This works in mid latitudes, where much of the world's population lives. We have prevailing westerly winds in these zones, which move systems eastward, generally. Another important fact here is that you only see rainbows when the sun is behind you. If you see the rainbow in the morning, the wetter air is to the west (upwind) and coming towards you and if you see one later in the day, the moist air is leaving, because you're looking east.

The red sky mentioned above is also caused by elevated moisture levels, and both of these theories work quite well in some locations.

People have used the...

Behaviour of animals...

to make predictions. They have said, to predict a storm:

Horses run faster than usual. Dogs act nervous and even eat grass. Cows stay out of the pasture or follow the bulls. They also bellow three times. Wolves howl. Pigs collect leaves. The rooster crows at night. Insects become very active. Except bees - they will be calm. Birds, frogs and toads make more noise that usual.

Generally speaking, they all are sensitive to the changes in pressure and/or humidity that precede drastic changes. Humans can detect such changes too, but we're often too busy to take notice.

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