Weather Insights, Adages, Anecdotes, Rhymes and Sayings...

    Weather lore concerning the appearance of the sky, the conditions of the atmosphere, the type or movement of the clouds, and the direction of the winds often has a scientific basis and likely can predict the weather.   Here are a few of them.

    Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning,
    Red sky at night, sailors delight.

    Most weather in the Northern Hemisphere moves from west to east.   A red sky is caused by dust and other particulates in the atmosphere and is associated with dry weather.   Consequently, a red or pink sky in the morning (east) means dry weather has already passed over you (and wet weather will likely follow.)   Conversely, a red or pink sky at night (west) indicates dry weather is coming your way.

    When the wind is blowing in the North
    No fisherman should set forth,
    When the wind is blowing in the East,
    'Tis not fit for man nor beast,
    When the wind is blowing in the South
    It brings the food over the fish's mouth,
    When the wind is blowing in the West,
    That is when the fishing's best!

    Along the east coast, this description of wind direction illustrates how the weather events of a low pressure area present themselves.   With the approach of a low, easterly winds typically pick up.   These gusty winds are often uncomfortably warm, dry, and dusty in the summer and bitterly cold in the winter.   Northerly winds, which follow around a low, are cold and blustery.   Sailing in conditions of northerly winds requires expertise and a boat capable of handling heavy seas.   Southerly winds usually bring warm temperatures, and though they may not feed the fish, they do provide pleasant fishing weather.   The best is to have a westerly wind blowing since it is likely to persist for some time, the weather should remain fair and clear, and the wind should be relatively constant.

    No weather is ill, if the wind be still.

    Calm conditions, especially with clear skies, indicate 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.   However, calm conditions may also result from a circumstance known as 'the calm before the storm'.   In this case, a large storm cell to the west is sucking up the surface wind in its updraft before it arrives.   This situation is readily apparent by looking to the west since the approaching storm will be close enough to be unmistakable.

    When halo rings the moon or sun,
    Rain's approaching on the run.

    A halo around the sun or moon is caused by the refraction of light from ice crystals at high altitude.   Such high-level moisture is a precursor to moisture moving in at increasingly lower levels, and is a good indicator that wet weather is on its way.   Halos usually change into what is known as 'milk sky', when the sky appears clear, but the typical blue color is washed-out or barely noticeable.   This is caused by high cirrostratus clouds which indicates an approaching low.   However, a halo around the sun during the winter months is evidence of very cold and clear air at and above the surface.   No rain in this situation.

    Mackerel sky and mares' tails
    Make lofty ships carry low sails.

    Like the rings around the sun or moon, mackerel skies (cirrocumulus clouds) and mares’ tails (cirrus clouds) indicate moisture in the air, and the pending arrival of a warm front and wet weather.

    Rainbow to windward, foul fall the day.
    Rainbow to leeward, rain runs away.

    If the wind is blowing from the direction of the rainbow, then rain is heading toward you.   Conversely, if the rainbow is downwind, then the rain has already passed by you.

    A wind from the south
    Has rain in its mouth.

    Typically, a south wind blows in advance of a cold front and also blows over the east quadrant of an approaching low-pressure cell.
    In either case, rain is coming.

    Sea gull, sea gull, sit on the sand.
    It’s a sign of rain when you are at hand.

    Generally, birds roost more during a period of low air pressure.   Takeoff and flying may be harder in the low pressure and it’s probably harder for them to maneuver.   If you live along the coast, you can see Sea Gulls hanging around in the parking lots at your favorite supermarket or mall (usually by the dumpster.)

    If you know of any other weather ditties, contact us and let us know about them.