Weather Lore

???????????????????????????????There is an old saying about Texas weather, “Wait a minute and it will change.” It seems to be especially true during the month of November.

A few years ago, on Thanksgiving Day, the morning was so warm we ran the air conditioner. A strong cold front blew in and by that night, we turned on the heat. While that change is extreme, our weather can rapidly change, especially during the fall and winter months. Perhaps that is one reason I pay extra attention to the weather forecast this time of year.

A few weeks ago, I read the long-range forecast for winter. Meteorologists used the latest computer models and scientific equipment in an effort to predict the long-range forecast from December through February.

They speak of terms such as La Niña and El Niño, polar vortexes and Greenland blocks, jet streams and atmospheric conditions. They go into detail to explain why each of these factors can affect the weather forecast.

Before people had computer modules, barometers, and other fancy equipment, they used alternative methods to forecast weather. The observation of plants, animals, and the conditions of the sky all played a role. Many sayings, known as weather lore, developed from these methods.

Some are simple sayings or rhymes.

If the first week in August is unusually warm, the coming winter will be snowy and long.

 

When the wind is out of the east, tis neither good for man or beast.

 

If there’s thunder during Christmas week, the winter will be anything but meek.

Others seem to have credence.

A tough winter is ahead if:

  • Corn husks are thick and tight…
  • Apple skins are tough…
  • Birds migrate early…
  • Squirrels tails are very bushy…
  • Berries and nuts are plentiful…
  • Bees build their nests high in the trees.

I have witnessed several natural weather signs. We live on a migratory path of the Canadian goose. While it’s not uncommon to see them on any given day in mid-late fall, there seems to be an abundance of flocks preceding a cold front.

Observing cattle is another way to forecast weather. When you see a herd of them lying on the ground with their backs to the north, it’s a sure sign colder weather is on its way.

I did a little research and found that there is reason and truth behind many of these “old-fashioned” methods.

For instance, the saying, “Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red sky in the morning, sailors warning,” comes from the conditions of the atmosphere. I’ve often heard that a ring around the moon signifies rain. This is true because the ring is caused by light shining through ice crystals of high cirrus clouds.[1]

It seems many of these “old timers” knew what they were doing in forecasting weather. It makes sense. Animals can’t read or determine the latest scientific research. Yet their natural instinct tells them when winter weather is near. And, when you look at many of the methods used by meteorologists, they are using atmospheric conditions, just like those who long ago talked about a “red sky in the morning.”

If you would like to read more weather lore sayings and the truth (or fiction) behind them, visit The Natural Navigator. In the meantime, share some weather lore you’ve heard. You can post in the comments.

[1] Source: The Natural Navigator

  • I tend to listen to the things Jesus says. And the “red sky at night…” is right from the Bible. In Matthew XVI: 2-3, Jesus said, “When in evening, ye say, it will be fair weather: For the sky is red. And in the morning, it will be foul weather today; for the sky is red and lowering.”

    Other than that and the groundhog, I’m pretty much dependent on the forecast to know what’s going on. (And sadly, the groundhog isn’t THAT reliable.)

    • Staci, I’m almost ashamed to admit I had forgotten that Bible verse. You’re right, we can’t always depend on the groundhog!

  • La McCoy

    Love Texas weather. Either take 4 changes of clothes or just wear a t shirt.

  • Joan, a most enjoyable look at weather and its lore. This while I sit and listen to the weather prognasticators locally predict snow, freezing rain, sleet, blizzards, and more. Most often they don’t get it quite right either. I’ll just wait and see what the good Lord has in store for us!

    • We have three TV stations in this area in addition to several radio stations. You can pretty much turn to one station and find the forecast that suits you – they rarely agree. And no matter what any of them says, God is in control. (And sometimes he surprises us!)

  • kathunsworth

    Joan what a fascinating post I usually take heed from the ants if they are racing around madly, there is sure to be rain on the way and the cows sitting down and facing a certain way here means also rain. I prefer to read the sky and the animals they get it right more times than all those techy gadgets. Really enjoyed reading about all he other ones I did not know about.

    • That’s true about the ants, Kath and about the cows. Amazing how these living creatures have that built in instinct.