We’ve been talking a bit about weather lore over the last couple of days.
But how much of it has a basis in fact? Can you really forecast the weather using these sayings?
Let’s take a look at a few of them…
“Cold is the night when the stars shine bright”- Clear skies at night allow daytime heat to radiate back into space. Cloud cover is like a blanket, keeping the heat in. So, if you can see lots of stars you know that, 9 times out of 10, temperatures are going to get colder than they would if you had a cloudy sky. Very reliable.
“Red sky at night, sailor’s delight- Red sky in morning, sailor take warning”- First of all, both shepherd and sailor are correct. Generally speaking, it’s sailor in North America and shepherd in the UK. Secondly, is it true? Yes, but it’s hard to depend on. Weather generally moves from west to east. A red sky at sunset can mean that the sun is shining on clouds to the east, but it’s clear to the west. That means nice weather is moving in and the clouds are moving out. The opposite would be true for a red sky in the morning. But there are many problems with this. For example, most showers and thunderstorms don’t move on a straight west to east line. So while it does have a basis in science, it is far from reliable.
“When the forest murmurs and the mountain roars, then close your windows and shut your doors”- Sound travels a little better when the humidity is higher. A higher humidity can indicate a better chance for rain. However, a higher humidity doesn’t ALWAYS mean a better chance for rain. Sometimes, low level moisture can simply be trapped with no way to actually turn it into rain. So, this one does have some science to it. But it’s marginally reliable.
“Catchy drawer and sticky door, coming rain will pour and pour”- Again, this is based on high humidity levels, which indeed will cause doors and drawers to stick. But again, high humidity is not a good indicator of whether or not it will rain. If it does rain, then yes it could be heavy. But without the proper mechanics to get the rain going in the first place, all you have is muggy weather. Marginally reliable.
Weather forecasting is a tricky thing. But, sometimes the trickiest of questions has the simplest of solutions.
-Photo by Howard Joseph
-By WeatherWatch Analyst Howard Joseph