FORE­CAST OR FIC­TION?

To­day we’re blessed with in­stant weather up­dates de­liv­ered di­rectly to our phones, but for cen­turies walk­ers re­lied on rhymes, lore and the oc­ca­sional old wives’ tale to pre­dict the el­e­ments on for­ays into the great out­doors. Were any of them true?

Country Walking Magazine (UK) - - Advertising Feature -

In his new book Read­ing The Clouds, Oliver Perkins ded­i­cates a chap­ter to ex­plor­ing the truth be­hind quirky proverbs that have been re­cited by gen­er­a­tions of walk­ers.

“RED SKY AT NIGHT, SHEP­HERD’S DE­LIGHT RED SKY IN THE MORN­ING, SHEP­HERD’S WARN­ING”

This fa­mous proverb first ap­peared in the Bible, and does have el­e­ments of truth to it. For a red sky to oc­cur at night there must be clear skies in the west, with cloud in the east for the set­ting sun to shine on. This of­ten means the weather will im­prove through the night as weather sys­tems gen­er­ally come from the west, push­ing clear skies east­wards in time for sun­rise in the morn­ing.

FACT “NO WEATHER IS ILL, IF THE WIND BE STILL”

Lack of wind is a char­ac­ter­is­tic of an­ti­cy­clones, which of­ten bring fair weather and clear skies. There are ex­cep­tions to this rule but gen­er­ally if the wind is calm for more than an hour that of­ten in­di­cates the pres­ence of an an­ti­cy­clone.

FACT “WHEN YOUR JOINTS START TO ACHE, RAINY WEATHER IS AT STAKE”

Dur­ing low pres­sure, which brings wet weather, tis­sues ex­pand in the body and put pres­sure on joints. Arthritic peo­ple of­ten say they can pre­dict bad weather, but as joint pain can be caused by many things this say­ing is un­re­li­able at best.

FIC­TION “A HALO AROUND THE SUN OR MOON MEANS RAIN OR SNOW COM­ING SOON”

The re­frac­tion of light in the ice crys­tals of cir­ro­stra­tus clouds causes ha­los, and said clouds are of­ten present be­fore a de­pres­sion ap­proaches. And as de­pres­sions bring rain or snow, this proverb is fre­quently proved to be true.

FACT “THE SHARPER THE BLAST, THE SOONER ‘TIS PAST”

This sug­gests the more fe­ro­cious the down­pour, the shorter it will last. There is truth to this dur­ing thun­der­storms, which of­ten last less than an hour, but dur­ing warm fronts heavy rain of­ten lasts hours – or even days.

FIC­TION “WHEN DEW IS ON THE GRASS, RAIN WILL NEVER COME TO PASS”

Dew forms when the ground ra­di­ates out its heat at night, cool­ing the air di­rectly above it. The cool air then sheds the wa­ter it is car­ry­ing, which con­denses around blades of grass and plants to form dew. For this to hap­pen there gen­er­ally needs to be a clear night sky, which in­di­cates an­ti­cy­clonic con­di­tions that bring fair weather.

FACT

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.