The humid summer air made the mountain forests feel like a jungle as I stepped out of the house this morning. On my way to the big blue truck I paused to check the grass. No dew this morning. As I placed my pack in the front seat I double checked the outside pocket to make sure that I had some rain gear with me. My poncho was snuggly rolled up in it’s place. As I made my way around to the driver’s side the lonely cry of a Mourning Dove confirmed my suspicion that rain was on the way.
It wasn’t really that long ago that the weather report wasn’t really as easy as checking your phone or smart watch. The prognosticators would study their instruments and give their best guess. There was no Doppler radar or 3D modeling to aid them but still they managed to be right. Well, sometimes. Before that the real old timers would read the signs in nature. Guessing the weather predictions was as much of an art as it was a science so tonight I wanted to share a few of the weather signs that I know with you.
Red skies at night. Sailor’s delight is probably the most well-known weather sign in the western world.
The photo on the right shows the red sky above my home. There’s a bunch of complicated science that explains why the sky turns red but what it meant to the old timers was that fair weather was on its way. This was of particular interest to those at sea. I have forgotten most of spectrum but there’s a whole range of colors that are old time weather indicators. The system takes into account the time of day and the season to fortell the type of weather.
Dew on the grass means that weather will be dry.
Farmers and outdoorsman would check the grass in morning to see if was wet with dew. The Bible says that in the days before Noah a mist rose from the ground and watered the soil. I have found it to accurate that a wet lawn in morning means no rain. And that when there’s no dew the rain will happen within a couple of days of not a few hours.
The Mourning Dove is also a pretty useful weather sign. Like the frogs they always seem to sing the most prior to rain. I have no explanation for how they know what the weather will be but I suspect that at least part of it has to do with their ability to sense magnet fields. I downloaded a scientific sensor app for my phone and one of things that I like to pay attention to is the ambient magnetic fields. There always seems to be a spike before a storm. One of really strange things is how livestock seems to understand the intensity and length of the storm. If the cattle huddle together under cover then the rain storm tends to be short but if the they continue graze during the rain storm then it will last all day.
Is it possible that cattle are masters of meteorology?
A few miscellaneous indicators of are aches and pains in joints, condensation on drinks and pipes, moon dogs ( a halo around the moon ), the number chirps of crickets and where I live the leaves of the trees turn upside down.
I’m sure that if I thought about it for a while I could come up with a pretty extensive list but I want to hear about your weather signs. What do you look for other than technology to know what it’s going to be in your area?
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