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Weather Folklore Explained


Whether or not you have an interest in weather, chances are you're probably familiar with at least one piece of weather lore. Yes, the belief of these rhymes and riddles has lingered on through the ages...but have you ever wondered why? Or wondered where weather folklore comes from?

While in today's technologically advanced world weather folklore is often considered more whimsical than wise, it is actually one of the oldest forms of forecasting and weather prediction. Prior to the invention of the mercury barometer and the thermometer in the 1600s, there were no tools in existence to aid farmers, mariners, or others who depended on weather for their livelihood in determining what tomorrow's weather would bring. To remedy this, people began observing the environment and the effects that weather had on animals, plants, insects, and even themselves. As patterns were recognized, they were set to rhymes to make them easily remembered and shared through both the written word and word of mouth.

Is weather lore true?

As meteorology became a popular science, and sophisticated technology was developed to help predict the weather, these advances eventually "ousted" the simplistic logic of lore. While it indeed remains a part of today's culture (thanks largely in part to being passed down from previous generations), its reasoning is thought to be unfounded--especially by scientists. Some of the proverbs that actually do have scientific backing include the following:

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

If a circle forms 'round the sun or moon,
'Twill rain or snow soon.

No weather is ill,
If the wind be still.

When the wind is blowing in the East,
'Tis not fit for man nor beast.

A coming storm your shooting corns presage,
And aches will throb, your hollow tooth will rage.

However, regardless of what science says, there are still some who swear by weather folklore--the above listed as well as other sayings that have yet to be proven true. Are these people wrong for doing so? That, only nature can decide.

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