Surprising Weather Proverbs With The Most Scientific Validity
Sometimes the old ways still work best. Long before weather models and Doppler radar people handed down weather wisdom from generation to generation. They told stories, shared anecdotes and tried to learn from their own experiences, passing these tales down to their children with a series of weather proverbs. The original "news you can use". Some stand the test of time, others are laughable curiosities.
At the end of the day, is some of that stuff your grandma told you actually true? Yes. I've compiled a short list of weather proverbs that can be backed up with science. Here are my favorites:
"Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red Sky in morning, sailors take warning."
Shakespeare said as much in his play, Venus and Adonis. In the Bible, the apostle Matthew (who was apparently a stickler for accuracy) quoted Jesus as saying "When in evening, ye say, it will be fair weather: For the sky is red. And in the morning, it will be foul weather today; for the sky is red and lowering.”
Red sunsets are a dime a dozen, and usually imply clear skies and dry weather upwind (usually west of your location). Not always, but much of the time. On the other hand, a red sunrise often results when a rising sun reflects off mid or high-level clouds. Ahead of a storm the atmosphere always moistens up from top to bottom, but a red sky off to the east when you wake up may hint at an approaching storm. Again, your results may vary, but there's more than a hint of validity to this one.
"Birds Fly Low Before a Storm"
I am not a birder, but Bird Informer taught me something I didn't know: "It turns out that most birds have a special sensory organ in their middle ear called the Vitali organ. This organ helps them sense atmospheric pressure changes, which somehow signals them what to do next." Wow. It turns out that rapidly falling atmospheric pressure before a storm can be painful for a bird's ears. To relieve this pressure drop, they fly closer to the ground. This proverb is also (mostly) true.
"When clouds appear like rocks and towers, the Earth's refreshed with frequent showers"
Yes! Popcorn cumulus clouds won't hurt anyone. But when clouds become vertically swollen, towering thunderheads (called "cumulonimbus") that's when it's time to move the party indoors. The taller the thunderstorm, the greater the potential for large hail and violent winds. So yes, this proverb also scores high for reliability, and it's grounded in science.
Check out a list of (generally) true weather proverbs here. Yes, weather has gone high-tech with fancy graphics, supercomputers, and a network of Doppler radars across the USA. But there is something to be said for relying on an Amish Doppler (a sturdy west-facing window) to "read the sky" and get a sense of what comes next!