Weather Predicting: Do It Yourself!

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Ready for do-it-yourself weather predicting? Long before meteorologists had sophisticated technology to help them predict the weather, people made forecasts based on their observations of the sky, animals, and nature.

Many of the traditional sayings they used, called proverbs, are accurate. Try out some old-fashioned forecasting—that still works today!

The higher the clouds, the finer the weather.

If you spot wispy, thin clouds up where jet airplanes fly, expect a spell of pleasant weather.

Keep an eye, however, on the smaller puff clouds (cumulus), especially if it's in the morning or early afternoon. If the rounded tops of these clouds, which have flat bases, grow higher than the one cloud's width, then there's a chance of a thunderstorm forming.

Clear Moon, frost soon.

When the night sky is clear, Earth's surface cools rapidly—there is no cloud cover to keep the heat in. If the night is clear enough to see the Moon and the temperature drops enough, frost will form. Expect a chilly morning!

When clouds appear like towers, the Earth is refreshed by frequent showers.

When you spy large, white clouds that look like cauliflower or castles in the sky, there is probably lots of dynamic weather going on inside. Innocent clouds look like billowy cotton, not towers. If the clouds start to swell and take on a gray tint, they're probably turn into thunderstorms.  Watch out!

Rainbow in the morning gives you fair warning.

A rainbow in the morning indicates that a shower is west of us and we will probably get it.

Ring around the moon? Rain real soon.

A ring around the moon usually indicates an advancing warm front, which means precipitation. Under those conditions, high, thin clouds get lower and thicker as they pass over the moon. Ice crystals are reflected by the moon's light, causing a halo to appear.

Rain foretold, long last. Short notice, soon will pass.

If you find yourself toting an umbrella around for days "just in case," rain will stick around for several hours when it finally comes. The gray overcast dominating the horizon means a large area is affected. Conversely, if you get caught in a surprise shower, it's likely to be short-lived.

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

A reddish sunset means that the air is dusty and dry. Since weather in North American latitudes usually moves from west to east, a red sky at sunset means dry weather—good for sailing—is moving east. Conversely, a reddish sunrise means that dry air from the west has already passed over us on their way easy, clearing the way for a storm to move in.

Observe the sky and see if these proverbs work for you!

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Comments

My Grandmother taught me that

By Gardener4ever on August 12

My Grandmother taught me that when the clouds in the sky look like fish scales, it will rain within 24 hours. Her saying: "Mackeral sky, 24 hours, never dry."

I always used whooly worms to

By arkdew25 on August 6

I always used whooly worms to predict winter (have only seen one, almost all brown) but a friend just told me when the cicadas start up, expect winter in 2 months. Anyone else heard this?

20 Earthly Signs of a Harsh

By Harsumit

20 Earthly Signs of a Harsh Winter Ahead
1.Thicker than normal corn husks 2.Woodpeckers sharing a tree
3.Early arrival of the Snowy owl
4.Early departure of geese and ducks 5.Early migration of the Monarch butterfly

6.Thick hair on the nape (back) of the cow’s neck
7.Heavy and numerous fogs during August
8.Raccoons with thick tails and bright bands
9.Mice eating ravenously into the home
10.Early arrival of crickets on the hearth.
11.Spiders spinning larger than usual webs and entering the house in great numbers
12.Pigs gathering sticks
13.Insects marching a bee line rather than meandering
14.Early seclusion of bees within the hive
15.Unusual abundance of acorns
16.Muskrats burrowing holes high on the river hank
17.“See how high the hornet’s nest, ‘twill tell how high the snow will rest”
18.Narrow orange band in the middle of the Woollybear caterpillar warns of heavy snow
19.The squirrel gathers nuts early to fortify against a hard winter
20.Frequent halos or rings around sun or moon forecast numerous snow falls.

here are 20 100% sign of harsh winters

I have used #1. About the

By Gardener4ever on August 12

I have used #1. About the corn for several years; here's how it goes: The husk layers on the corn tells if the winter will be warm or cold (more layers, cold, less layers, warmer) how high up the corn cob is on the stalk tells how many inches of snow will fall. It really tells the winter.

I heard also a thunderstorm

By McKenna Geee

I heard also a thunderstorm could be coming if birds are on the ground because the molecules in the sky make a sound that birds cant stand so they land on the ground and cant fly very well.

Wow! That's amazing! Never

By Brickie1971 on August 26

Wow! That's amazing! Never heard that one before! Thanks!

I was once told that 6 months

By Kris Steen

I was once told that 6 months from the first thunderstorm would be the first frost. Has anyone ever hear of this folk lore?

We don't seem to have that

By Almanac Staff

We don't seem to have that weather proverb in our archives, but thanks for sharing. Here's a few more:

For every thunder with rain in February, there will be a cold spell in May.

Thunder in September brings plenty of snow in February.

Thunder in spring, Cold will bring.

I watch cows. I live in a

By Jemit

I watch cows. I live in a farm community and when the cows lay down in the fields, rain is coming for sure. yes, it's true

What is the old saying with

By Beverly rabalais

What is the old saying with when fog is on frost?

What are the "12 old days" in

By John C. Walton

What are the "12 old days" in weather forecasting? Each day is supposed to forecast the weather for each of the next 12 months. The days are either the last of the year or the first 12 days of the current year (I think)
Will appreciate any information on this subject.
jlcwalton

The 12 days start the day

By Kitty Gregory

The 12 days start the day after Christmas. If it snows for the day forecasting June it means snow. Or if it's really cold for august it's going to be hot. My grandmother told me this.

Thanks for the information

By John C. Walton

Thanks for the information

We're not sure what the "12

By Almanac Staff

We're not sure what the "12 old days" are (anyone else know?), but there are some other weather lore sayings that are similar. For example, one piece of folklore says that the 12 days of Christmas (according to one source, this would be Dec 25 through Jan 5, but interpretations may vary between Christian denominations) predict the weather for the next 12 months--the first day of Christmas, for January; the second day of Christmas, for February; and so on.

Ole Indian lore taught to me

By Danielhcook

Ole Indian lore taught to me by my scoutmaster years ago. If the back of a silver maple tree leaf is white and blowing then Always expect rain!

Does anyone know where

By Marie Donoho

Does anyone know where weather folklore books by Dick Frymeir can be purchased? He used to come on the local TV station WPSD and give his predictions in Western KY. He hasn't been on in quite a few years but he used to teach folklore at one of the universities I think. Thanks for any info.

Unfortunately, Leslie Haynes

By Almanac Staff

Unfortunately, Leslie Haynes Frymire, also known as "Dick" Frymire, passed away on September 6, 2013. He was 87. You can find books by Dick Frymire on Amazon.com. Third-party sellers offer used and new copies of some of his books. There might also be other sources elsewhere on the Web. You might also check your local bookstore--they might be able to order a copy for you if they don't have one in stock. Your public library might also be able to order a book through interlibrary loan.

Can anyone tell me the

By Peter Kelley

Can anyone tell me the technical term for this style of weather predicting? I once heard a local weatherman make reference to the terminology and I did not bother to fully memorize it.

Peter Kelley
St. Paul, MN USA

Peter, Weather is not

By Jerry Alexander on August 23

Peter,
Weather is not "Predicted". Weather is Forecast.I was told that by my weather teacher the very first day of flight school..never forgot it...ha ha..and he was very serious.

MY BROTHER PREDICTS THAT WHEN

By michelwarner

MY BROTHER PREDICTS THAT WHEN THE CLOUDS GET DARK AND TOO MUCH HUM IT IND INDICATES TI IS GOING TO BE HEAVY RAIN.
funny sayings

When it rains or is about to

By Red Ears

When it rains or is about to rain my ear or ears always get hot and red. Its so strange, and I dont know why it does it.

Does anyone remember the one

By Moltroub

Does anyone remember the one about the smoke following the side of the chimney to the ground? i cant remember if its 24 hours for the precipitation.

My Grandmother lived in Western PA, she could tell if it was going to rain by the moisture on the glass bottles in the refrigerator. Born in the 1890's, she lived by the signs.

I've also noticed the dogs will start smelling the air when we're going to get rain or snow. They tend to smell the air more the colder it gets.

Chimney smoke descends, our

By fional

Chimney smoke descends, our nice weather ends

There is a quote from C.

By Almanac Staff

There is a quote from C. Leeson Prince around 1895 that says, "When you observe smoke from the chimney of a cottage descend upon the roof and pass along the eaves, expect rain within 24 hours."

i always look to the sky and

By old skool

i always look to the sky and when i see a sundog it its gonna rain in 24 hours or so

i live ontop a

By gabriel from ct.

i live ontop a mountain,weather is so unpredictable do to west/s-west winds.we get weather here 360 degrees so any weather changes so fast.

My mom and a friend at my

By adrianna collins

My mom and a friend at my office told me about persimmon seeds...you open the seed and the shape determines coming winter weather in your area...they are ALL spoons this year , which means lots of snow...a knife shape means very bitter cold, a fork shape means mild winter....My mom lives in Moore Co NC, my friend and I are In Wilkes Co NC....so looks like lots of snow in NC this winter!.....also there are TONS of acorns(in both counties and probably all in between).another indicator of a hard winter coming...they weren't many at all last year...

Squirrels are hiding the

By Moltroub

Squirrels are hiding the Dogwood seeds here in Catawba Co, NC, they left no pecans or acorns.

I also cut the seeds in

By KY Weather

I also cut the seeds in several different persimmons and I also got ALL spoons.. and I have never heard about the acorns but geez if thats an indicator for a hard winter then we here in McKinney KY are gonna get a BAD one!!! There are acorns everywhere! We do need a good hard/cold winter after having little winter last year and such a blistering hot summer and mild fall! I love snow so I say bring it on!!

I live in La Porte, IN & we

By Brickie1971 on August 26

I live in La Porte, IN & we had a blizzard this past Jan! I live on the second floor of my apartment complex & could barely see out the windows. Especially one window in my bedroom. It's even with the roof & couldn't see out of it at all! We were all going stir crazy. No public transportation. Only police, fire & ambulances. Anyone else, hauled off to jail! All stores closed!

I'm a hairdresser, and when

By Cherri

I'm a hairdresser, and when we're going to have a cold winter, here in Oregon, I start noticing around September my clients will get lots of one inch, downy hair all over their scalp, it sticks up when I part it before cutting. I have noticed it this year on several people so we'll see if it holds true this year.

NC Coast. First time seeing

By TMcMurtrey

NC Coast. First time seeing a wooly worm here. Looks like 2/3 is orange the and and tail tip black. There are six ridges with a darker brown across the ridges.

In the foothills of NC -

By Moltroub

In the foothills of NC - first wooly worm was all black, the others have been brown with black stripes and black at the end.

When the muskrats build their

By KarenAnonymous

When the muskrats build their huts close to shore the winter will be mild, the farther out the colder it will be

I am wondering about

By Azziey57

I am wondering about crickets. Do they kown how bad a winter we are getting. I like snow, but not a storm every week like a few years ago in massachusetts.

Many types of crickets

By Almanac Staff

Many types of crickets overwinter as eggs, some as nymphs, and a few as adults. Although we could not find weather sayings that link crickets with winter, crickets are used to determine other weather factors. For example, if you find a cricket (a snowy tree cricket is best), count the number of cricket chirps in 14 seconds and add 40 — the resulting number is the approximate outside temperature in Fahrenheit. Also, weather lore says that if a cricket chirps unusually (or loudly), expect wet weather.

Is they any truth to it that

By Bunny4363

Is they any truth to it that when people, especially Children get out of control its do to barometric pressure? Just like they say a full more people in up in the ER.

yes they do,hyper

By gabriel from ct.

yes they do,hyper sensitivity,i get more active when its rainy,i feel less pressure on myself,almost a natural high happens

There are some studies whose

By Almanac Staff

There are some studies whose findings suggest that low barometric pressure can cause adults to be more impulsive and children to be more irritable/restless. Children with disorders such as autism seem to be more affected.

rocks are good weather

By rock weather

rocks are good weather predictors.
when rock dry,weather is fair,
when rock wet,it rained or it's raining,
when rock white,it snowed or snowing,
when rock dissapeares,too much snow.

LOL! Good one!

By Brickie1971 on August 26

LOL! Good one!

I have one. But it's not a

By Maggie Crooks

I have one. But it's not a predictor; it's an indicator. lol

A lot of Boy Scout troops

By Farmerboy

A lot of Boy Scout troops have those. My troop rarely uses it though.

you forgot, when rock

By Nony

you forgot,
when rock spinning, tornado/hurricane
when rock shaking, earthquake

My Mother told me, "A January

By sherry yerxa

My Mother told me, "A January fog will freeze a dog".

A friend's grandmom used to

By April Hansen

A friend's grandmom used to say if you can see enough sky to make a pair of britches (i.e., enough blue to equal the cloth needed to make pants), then it will not rain.

When a cat washes behind it's

By Bellamina

When a cat washes behind it's ears expect rain.

really??? these points are

By grandmas girl

really??? these points are all so good, but have they been verified. In california, the weather doesnt change within an hour.

Fire ants will build up

By C. Lee

Fire ants will build up around the hole when significant rains are coming.

Has anyone noticed when the

By grandmother of six

Has anyone noticed when the water level in the toilet is high it will storm, when the water level is low or normal the weather is fair.I heard that somewhere.

Yes noticed the same

By Ryan Bittles

Yes noticed the same occurence in my toilet,allso have a seafarers barometer same concept. Pressure varience moves the water.

I love reading all the

By grandmother of six

I love reading all the different ways we can tell when the weather changes, the way the animals,birds and the way our body feels.

When the humidity and

By steve40004

When the humidity and barometric pressure changes, I feel it in all my joints.

ground is wet, it is raining.

By jim61

ground is wet, it is raining. ground is dry means good weather. Hot outside means sunny. Cold and dark outside means cooling weather. This NEVER fails.

this sounds like my weather

By Matt79

this sounds like my weather rock that I have in my front yard!!

I like your method. It works

By Glynn

I like your method. It works every time. 100% accurate ... no matter where you live.

My childrens ears turn hot

By jt2007

My childrens ears turn hot and red when precipitation in any form is comming. I thought it was funny way to predict at first but then they told me it actually hurts. I have had to put ice cubes on their ears when it snows!

what is an accurate way to

By Judith Lorman

what is an accurate way to "predict" snow on it's way by watching birds and such??

The evenings before we got

By YTK

The evenings before we got hit with two really bad blizzards here (East Coast), even though it started snowing little tiiny flakes, I noticed that the birds were FRANTICALLY looking for food. The first time -- my sister whowas visiting, was debating whether she should stay a while longer or go back home (50 miles away). Based on what was unfolding outside with the birds, I told her "go -- now". She did. The blizzard commenced shortly thereafter. We got hit with 2 feet of snow the first time -- 3 feet the next time. The birds were definitely right those 2 times.

I heard that for every fog in

By suzie q

I heard that for every fog in august you get a snow the heavier the fog the more snow you get we have had quite a few this year in ky.

I have heard this too...we in

By adrianna collins

I have heard this too...we in western NC had a lot of foggy mornings in August this year.

I get weather headaches when

By Cynthia Gant 2

I get weather headaches when the weather changes and I also keep an eye on the woodpeckers and bald eagles.I see a bald eagle it gets cold the next day and as for woodpeckers the weather usually changes within a few hours.

I have degenerative discs in

By Brickie1971 on August 26

I have degenerative discs in my lower left lumbar area. When the weather is going to change, the pain gets so bad, I can be in tears.

I get headaches and sore

By grandmother of six

I get headaches and sore joints when the weather changes.My two cats react in different ways when the weather changes.

headaches are from the

By shari

headaches are from the changes in the barometric pressure changes.

I notice this happens to

By arkdew25 on August 6

I notice this happens to me...like right now!

i was told that a hole in the

By esther

i was told that a hole in the clouds ment a storm was comming in 24 hours . there is a name for this cloud formation does anyone know the name?

Someone told me that if the

By prettikay

Someone told me that if the leaves on the trees flip upside down that it is going to rain.

it jus means the wind is

By gum boy

it jus means the wind is blowing

We have many trees on our

By Moltroub

We have many trees on our property. The one that's the best is the Maple. The leaves will actually turn their silver side out for a drop or two to a deluge. Just have to look how far they've turned. Once I did see the Dogwoods turn - we had record rainfall, flooded the area.

my grandmother lives in PA

By grandmas girl

my grandmother lives in PA and she pointed this out and she was correct everytime

That is what the Silver

By Scioto County Storm Chaser Center

That is what the Silver Maples do.

when the weather is gonna be

By nene1961

when the weather is gonna be bad my incision from my c-sections itch like crazy.

Mine tends to itch every now

By clsjls2005

Mine tends to itch every now and then but I never noticed the weather with it. I will watch for that.

I use a combination of

By 19James73

I use a combination of technoledgy and old proverbs to tell my local weather. The technoledgy comes in the form of a casio pathfinder watch that tells the temp and barometric pressure. As for the old proverbs I also watch the sky as well as the animals. When watching the sky watch how high the birds are flying the higher they go the clearer the skies as well as to watching the ant hills and how high they make them tells you how severe and/or length of the rain coming in. I also live in a farm community so there are also alot of farm animals weather predictors.

I look out the window

By rhart1234

I look out the window

LOL

By LyndyPoo

LOL

My right knee, which was

By Jrwolf

My right knee, which was operated on, will always tell me when weather is changing. Sharp pains like a ice pick striking my knee, the harder it hurts the worse the storm will be. Fibromyalgia will also warn you of impending weather

you are so right the hurting

By bob wilsey

you are so right the hurting knees snd the acking bones i know the feeling very much

That's the same with me, both

By Brickie1971 on August 26

That's the same with me, both knees replaced & have gout in my right knee. but along with my back; if the weather changes, my right knee really goes crazy!

I used to watch the ants if I

By Jill Cowgill

I used to watch the ants if I wanted to know if it was going to rain. If it was dry or only a light rain coming they seem to just go about business as usual. But for a heavy or long rain, they rush about their business. The closer the rain, the more frantic they become.

it's always red at night

By soundwave45

it's always red at night sailors delight
red in the morn sailors take warn

I always know there a change

By Donna Mason 2

I always know there a change in the weather when my knee start to hurts.

My sister watches owls to

By Bernadine Harmon

My sister watches owls to predict weather. Anybody know how this works?

when they howl, it's supposed

By Brooke Cave

when they howl, it's supposed to mean that there is rain on the way.

My Grandfather told me that a

By trollie715

My Grandfather told me that a Red sunset or moon means that is going to be very hot the next day.

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