They often start as very local sayings and can often be quite true of just one area, maybe to maountains or valleys, or proximity to the sea.
'Red sky at night, shepherd's delight,
Red sky in the morning, sailors warning'
This is probably the besk known one of all, and the one which is most often right. Because the sun sets in the west we see the sinking sun reflected on the underside of high clouds. This means that there are no mid level or low clouds, just high ones, which is specific to fairly stable and dry conditions. In this case you can expect a calm night and a nice morning the next day.
A red sky in the morning is also the sun reflecting underneath the clouds, but because they are in the east as it rises, they are usually the cirrus clouds of an approaching warm front with the potential for poor weather. This rhyme was researched in London in the 1920s and found to be right 70% of the time.
If it rains on St Swithin's Day it rains for 40 days
July 15th is St Swithin's Day, and once again this saying is based on old weather patterns. In most years the path of the jet stream has settled down by mid July, which creates a weather patten that lasts until mid August - and so St Swithin's Day falls when the weather pattern is establishing itself for the summer.
'Rain before 7, clear by 11'
This is much quoted and usually seems to be right. Rain rarely lasts for more than 7 or 8 hours, plus which not many people are aware of when it starts raining in the night!
'Ne'er cast a clout 'til (the) May is out'
This old wives tale is based on the old adage that you shouldn't take your vest off until the Hawthorn plants are flowering! The first written form dates back to 1732 but probably was handed along verbally long before then.
There is doubt about whether you should strip off before the end of May the month, or before the Hawthorn blossom is showing, but either way it's a good indication of the warmer spring weather that's heralded by both the flowers and the month of May.
'When the wind is in the East 'tis good for neither man nor beast'
Easterly winds have had a bad reputation even going back to the Bible, because they are usually a long term general east wind. Easterlies usually very in speed and direction in an unpredictable and alarming manner. Certainly, on the Fylde Coast being used to westerlies, the east wind always feels far more cold, blows with more strength, and makes its presence felt more strongly!
"Mare's tails and mackerel scales make tall ships take in their sails" was shared by Sue Rowley
"Mackerel back sky, less than 24 hours dry" from Ruth Steele
"There's mist around the Moon, it's going to be nice tomorrow" is Alfa Swizer's observation
And finally, Daddy Rabbit always says "If the Lakes are clear there's rain on the way"
If you've got any more good weather sayings, please send them in!
Email to jane@theRabbitPatch.co.uk
A famous Fylde Coast sunset over the sea.
Red Sky at Night
Hawthorne flowering in May on St Annes seafront
Ne'er Cast a Clout!
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