Weather Phenomena

1. "Red sky at night, sailor's delight; red sky in the morning, sailor take warning." Translation: A red morning sky indicates possible rain that day; a red evening sky suggests the next day will be clear. The color difference relates to the reflective value of the low lying cloud cover.

2. Check the grass, tent, canoe bottom, or whatever, for the presence of dew in late evening or early morning. A heavy dew at either of these times usually suggest 8 to 12 hours of good weather.

3. Watch the smoke from your campfire. If it hangs low (a function of low pressure) to the ground, rain is on the way. If it rises high into a nice vertical column (high pressure), count on good weather.

4. Check out the air bubbles in your coffee cup. They'll ring the edges of the cup when a low pressure rain system sets in.

5. You can sometimes smell a coming storm, as the low pressure allows methane (swamp gas) to rise and drift with the currents. In boggy areas, the odor is quite pronounced.

6. "When the peacock loudly bawls, there'll be both rain and squalls." Translation: Birds sing loudly just before a storm.

7. Geese and seagulls won't usually fly just before a storm. Low pressure air is thin and it's hard for them to get airborne.

8. The ears of many animals are sensitive to low pressure. Wolves will howl before a storm. Dogs will become nervous and emit howls or howl-like sounds.

9. To determine the distance of a lightning strike, count the seconds between the flash and the thunder boom. Divide by five and you'll have your answer in miles.

10. Noises all become louder and more vibrant just before a rain, because the sound is reflected and magnified by the low clouds. The croaking of frogs, yodel of loons, etc., will echo loudly if rain is imminent.

11. Be alert for changes in wind direction. Storms are whirlpools of wind that rotate counterclockwise in the northern hemisphere (remember your high school science?) The adage "Wind from the south, brings rain in its mouth," is the keystone here, as the wind which precedes a storm usually blows from the south. Counterclockwise wind shifts therefore usually bring rain, while clockwise movements indicate fair weather. You can keep these directional changes straight by remembering the rhymes...

12."Wind from the east brings weather that's a beast." (Suggest a counterclockwise wind shift from south to east, east to north, etc.)

13."Wind from the west brings weather that's best." (Suggest a clockwise wind shift from south to west, north to east, etc.)

14. Most everyone knows that frogs emerge from the water just before a storm and croak their fool heads off. Frogs breathe partially through their skin (which must be kept moist), so when the humidity rises just before storm, they climb ashore and sing happily.

15. If you're a canoeist you know that about 8-12 hours before a storm, mosquitoes and black flies begin to swarm and bite more than usual. Up to two hours before the storm they quit biting altogether.

16. Check out the rainbow: A heavy red may mean more rain; vibrant rich blue suggests clear skies ahead.

17. Here's an old "down east" proverb: "Filly tails make lofty ships wear low sails." Translation: Thin, hair-like clouds forecast rain within the day. These "filly tails" are really streaks of ice thrown skyward by the rising air of a coming storm.

18. A "mackerel sky" (tiny scale-like clouds that resemble a mackerel's back), just 24 hours dry. Translation: Expect rain within the next day!

19. Any fireflies around? When rain approaches, these little insects light up the woods in gay profusion, according to the rhyme: "When the little glow bug lights his lamp, the air around is surely damp."

20.Listen for the rustle of leaves as the wind precedes the storm.

21. If you can't see the sharp points on a half moon, rain may be in the offing. Translation: Low clouds and haze distort sharp images.

22. Bright, twinkling stars usually indicate high altitude winds which may be bringing a storm.

23. There's a good chance that foul weather (rain or snow) will fall within three days of a new moon phase.

24. "The weather out west had best, for tomorrow will bring it to you to test!" This means that in all likelihood, the weather system to your west will be at your location tomorrow.

25. In summer, a "sun-dog" or halo around the sun, generally predicts the coming of rain. Sun-dogs are caused by sunlight streaming through the ice particles of high clouds. A halo around the moon may also indicate approaching rain.

26. "Evening fog will not burn soon, but morning fog will burn before high noon." Invariably, a fog-borne day will become perfectly clear (an ideal day) by noon.

27. "Short notice, soon it will pass. Long notice, expect it to last." Watch the clouds. If they take several days to build, prolonged rain is usually in the offing. If the storm system builds suddenly, it will probably pass quickly.

28.Contrails - long streaks of clouds - formed by airplanes flying from 25,000 to 40,000 feet above the Earth can be a weather clue. Since they form only in moist air, contrails hint that clouds and precipitation might arrive in a day or two.

29.Of course, everyone knows: Rain before seven, dry by eleven.

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