Fun 204: How To Predict Weather The Old-Fashioned Way

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Learn to pay attention to a few key details

  • Pay attention to a few natural observations
    • Air pressure changes
    • Humidity changes
    • Movement of the clouds
    • Appearance of the moon
  • Most animals react to changes in air pressure, so they’re worth observing
  • Most weather fronts move from west to east, meaning that west shows what is coming in and east shows what is leaving
  • If you are physically sensitive from a bodily injury or illness, you will be able to detect changes in air pressure

There are clear signs in the sky that the weather will get worse

  • If clouds are going in different directions, turbulent winds are pulling the clouds all over
  • Cumulonimbus clouds (rain clouds) show up early in the day and develop throughout the day
  • Cumulus towers (very tall rain clouds) can be seen before rain
  • Cirrus clouds (wispy hair-like clouds) mean bad weather is coming within 36 hours
    • Caused by high winds at high altitudes
  • Altocumulus clouds (chunks of clouds like mackerel scales) mean bad weather is coming within 36 hours
  • A rainbow, which shows that there is moisture, is to the west
  • A rainbow is in the sky at morning
  • The sky is red at morning
    • The red sky is a high pressure front from dry air stirring dust particles, meaning a low pressure front is coming
  • A ring around the moon means rain is probably coming within 3 days
    • This is from light shining through clouds that are associated with warm fronts and moisture
  • The moon is bright and sharply focused before rain
    • Low pressure has cleared out any dust to obscure it, and low pressure means rain

There are some other ways to tell that a storm is coming

  • Animals behave differently when a storm is coming
    • Animals, especially birds, become very quiet before rain
    • Birds will roost on power lines or fly low, since falling air pressure from storms hurts their ears
    • If birds are eating in a storm it will rain for a long time, but if they don’t it will clear up soon
    • Cattle huddle closer together
    • Cows lie down before a thunderstorm
    • Ants build their hills with very steep sides just before rain
    • Cats tend to clean behind their ears before rain
    • Turtles often search for higher ground 1 to 2 days before a lot of rain is expected
  • The air will smell like compost and swamps will smell horrible
    • Plants release their waste in a low pressure environment
    • Gases are naturally released just before a storm
    • Eastward-blowing winds can indicate an approaching storm front
    • Strong winds indicate high pressure differences, which can mean a rapid change in weather
    • A fire’s smoke will swirl and descend from lower pressure
  • Humidity will increase
    • Hair curls up and gets frizzy
    • Oak and maple tree leaves tend to curl in high humidity
    • Pine cone scales are closed in high humidity but open up in dry air
    • Wood swells in high humidity, which can affect door frames
    • Salt clumps together in high humidity
    • Scents of all sorts are stronger in moist air
  • The grass at sunrise will be dry, which means clouds or strong breezes
  • Bubbles in a cup of coffee will be pushed to the center

There are signs in the sky that the weather will get better

  • Mammatus clouds (thick bumpy clouds like an inverted carpet) are formed by sinking air, meaning a dissipating storm cloud
  • Birds are flying high in the sky, meaning the air pressure is rising
  • A rainbow is in the east, which shows there is moisture
  • A rainbow is in the sky at evening
  • The sky is red at evening
    • The red sky is a high pressure front from dry air stirring dust particles
  • The moon is reddish or pale
    • Dust is in the air that obscures the moon’s view, meaning a higher pressure front
  • Cloud cover on a winter night means warmer weather is coming, since it keeps heat from escaping

There are a few ways to tell around you that the weather will get better

  • Winds are blowing westward, which can indicate a departing storm front
  • A fire’s smoke is rising steadily, meaning the pressure is rising
  • The grass at sunrise will be wet
  • Bubbles in a cup of coffee will be pushed to the edge
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