Predicting the weather with folklore
Do the old sayings about the sky actually offer some valid forecasts?
Thursday, January 6, 2011 - 15:41
Photo: Kathleen Riley-Daniels
As I child living in New England, I recall hearing the old weather lore:
Red sky at night, sailor's delight
Red sky at morning, sailors take warning.
I know that lore is true, but over time I have noticed some other weather lore that is also true. Today while walking one of the dogs on a newly discovered path, I saw some clouds that I have always called mare's tails. For me, this indicate there is wet weather on the way.
The saying for mare's tails is:
Mackerel scales and mare's tails make lofty ships carry low sails.
To give you a little more information on mare's tails, they are officially called cirrus clouds and are characterized by thin, wispy strands, often accompanied by tufts. This is probably how the comparison to a mare's tail was made. Someone told me they knew these as cat's tails, but I have only heard that once, so I'm sticking with mare's tails.
Is it a good one for predicting weather? As it turns out, it is. The clouds that develop before a storm often look wispy like a horse's tail. I have also found that seeing those clouds usually means wet weather within 24 hours. I just looked at The Weather Channel and NOAA sites and snow is predicted tomorrow.
Take a look at the sky outside your window and let me know if you can start predicting weather with folklore.
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