Weather Proverbs

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Red sky at night, sailor's delight;
Red sky in morning, sailors take warning. 

English Proverb

Before the weather channel and satellite photographs, people relied on folk wisdom to predict the weather. Some believe the accuracy of those proverbs is as reliable as the weatherman.

What do you think?

Many of the weather proverbs have been used for thousands of years. Some are simple superstition, but some are based on observation.  The problem is that even the conventional wisdom that is true was often developed in different  parts of the world and does not apply to where you live. As for the red sky, it may be true if you live in the northern hemisphere.

A complete description of the accuracy of weather proverbs and folklore can be found at  USA weather.

Eric Sloane has written an excellent book on weather proverbs called Folklore of American Weather. This book is now, unfortunately, out of print  but copies can still be found in libraries.

Read the following weather proverbs and decide whether they

 Must be true, may be true, or are not true.

When you think you know the answers, take the Quiz

1. If a squirrel stores many nuts, it means it will be a bad winter. 

2. The higher the clouds, the better the weather.

3.  If a groundhog sees its shadow on February 2, there will be 6 more weeks of winter.

4. Flies bite before a storm. 

5. Frogs croak more than usual before a storm.

6. If corn husks are thicker than usual, a cold winter is ahead. 

7. When smoke descends, good weather ends. 

8. When a pine cone closes up, rain is on the way. 

9. Clear moon, frost soon. 

10. Ring around the moon, rain by noon; Ring around the sun, rain before night is done.

Now you know the proverbs, or not? Test yourself.

Links to other sites:

North Carolina Traditional Weather Lore from North Carolina.

The Farmer's Almanac Arguably the most famous source for conventional weather wisdom.

The Weekend Gardener A short list of proverbs to ponder.

Last Updated: 07/07/05