Let’s talk about the weather, and all the ways that people over the years have figured out to predict it. Along the way, I’ve got a couple ways of my own which I’ve developed over the years.

A lot of weather predictions are indirectly connected to  barometric pressure, BP, which is itself connected to the weight of air, which is connected to how dry or wet that air is.

Birds flying low–or not at all–predict a storm. Yes, they do. When the BP is low and the air is thin, it’s a lot harder to fly, if not impossible. (I’ve added to this the fact that when I was teaching and the BP was low, I never gave a test. My theory: The human brain swells up during low pressure, expands within the human cranium, and doesn’t work as well.) Plus, fish don’t bite well before a rain, because due to the low BP, their air bags swell up, and they have to work harder to swim around; it’s hard to not pop up out of the water. Well, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. 

Conversely, my students could tell if it was going to rain by whether or not their instructor gave a test.

When smoke from a wood stove hangs low, it’s going to rain. Lots of predictors are connected to high humidity, which often precedes a rain. Moisture in the air attracts smoke particles, which are then heavy, and lay low.

Flies are more of a nuisance before a rain, which may be because during the low BP that precedes a rain, the human body releases more odor into that air, which in turn draws flies. (It’s also possible that they’re trying to get inside out of the pending rain, because they, like birds, have trouble flying.)

If you want to know the temperature, count the number of chirps a cricket makes in 14 seconds, and add 40. According to most sources, this is amazingly accurate.

“I know ladies by the score.

Whose hair foretells a storm.

Long before it begins to pour,

Their curls take a drooping form.”

This poem supports the high humidity before a rain, which causes hair to do different stuff, curl, straighten, fluff, etc.

An old Finnish proverb states that in the spring, if you get lightning while there is ice around, it means 6 more weeks of winter. This goes along with the one that says if a ground hog sees its shadow, there will be 6 more weeks of winter. Well, it doesn’t go along, exactly. Parallel, more like.

Aching joints in the human body that predict storms are well known. The lower BP means the small spaces in your joints swell up. If then there is any wear and tear on that joint, the expanding muscles, tendons, cartilage can cause pain. This phenomenon has been extensively researched by colleges and universities and has been found to be true.

Here are a bunch of weather predictions connected to animals:

If the birds are flying high in the sky, fair weather will stay around.

If cattle seek a corner of a field or lie down in a group in the fields, a severe storm is imminent.

Cats will clean their ears before a rain.

Spiders come down from their webs before a rain.

The louder the frogs, the more the rain.

Ants will build their anthills with steeper walls when rain is coming.

When dogs eat grass, rain is coming.

Bats flying around in the evening indicate fair weather.

      Here are some random ones: If it rains before seven, it will clear before eleven.

If three nights dewless there be,  ’twill rain, you’re sure to see.

With dew before midnight, the next day sure will be bright.

And finally, how high up above the ground bees build their nests will tell you how much snow we’re going to get in the coming winter. For the first time, I have paper wasp nests high in apple trees. I’ve never seen that before.

Oil your snow shovel.