What does the saying "Mare's tails...

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What does the saying “Mare’s tails and mackerel scales make tall ships take in their sails” mean?
A “mackerel sky” is one that has a lot of cirrocumulus clouds, which often precede an approaching warm front. Warm fronts can bring veering winds and precipitation. This weather proverb is an apt way to describe how a sailor might respond if he saw “mackerel scales” approaching.