Using Nature to Predict Weather

Using our local weathermen has become a laughing joke. On Wednesday they might say the weekend weather will be fair and when the weekend gets here it will probably rain. My local weather station seems to have a problem even knowing when a current storm will be getting to my area. The storm is always come and gone before they say anything about it, that is if that do at all. With all of the technology used today you would assume it would be more accurate but in fact it only has an accuracy rate of 50-60%. (We all know what it means to assume.) The question to be asked then is how can we improve weather prediction? My answer is to rely more on Mother Nature.

For hundreds of years before the invention of radio or television or of any instruments to predict the weather, humans have looked to the sky and to other life on earth to predict the weather. Farmers today still use the Farmer’s Almanac with it’s 80% accuracy rate to determine weather conditions. I don’t understand why the meteorologists don’t use a mix of nature and technology when predicting the weather. Since this probably will never happen, we have to take it upon ourselves to be knowledgeable about nature’s signs so that we can predict the weather for ourselves.

Here are a few of the thousands of signs out there you can look for. Many you will have heard of and some you may never have heard of. Just don’t blame me if the weather doesn’t turn out the way you predict it to.

The sky holds many signs of approaching rain from rainbows to clouds. If a rainbow appears in the west during the morning, rain is likely but if the rainbow is in the afternoon, the rain has passed. Cirrus clouds and altocumulus clouds mean high winds are approaching with a frontal system not too far behind. When you see a ring or halo around the moon at night, a low-pressure bringing in moisture is approaching meaning rain or snow depending on the season. It has also been said that if you can count the number of stars in the ring you can determine approximately when the moisture reach you (each star equals 12-24 hours). Not the best indicator but it is something.

Plants are another indicator of weather. Rhododendrons close their leaves when cold weather is approaching and unfurl them when it starts to warm up. They are completely closed at 200F and all the way open at 600F. Clover, dandelions, and tulips all fold up their petals before the rain arrives. Moss and mushrooms are abundant when the weather is moist.

Other rain indicators: no morning dew, increase in environmental odors, huddled cows, falling smoke, backs of leaves are shown, and birds stay on the telephone wires. Signs of a bad winter include increase in the amount of acorns, hornet’s nests are high off the ground, and the wider the black band on a woolly bear caterpillar in the fall, the worse the winter will be.

Weather is so hard to predict that there is no way we can know 100% what the weather is going to do until it happens but there are ways to help us plan our day. All we need to do is open our eyes and look at the world around us to know if we should carry an umbrella or not. Add that to the forecast from the professionals and you might get pretty close to knowing for sure.