Visitors Contributions

There have been many interesting emails regarding folklore weather forecasting. Your contributions are the reason that this site has grown. Please do not hesitate to send me an email on the subject of either rhyming or non-rhyming folk lore weather forecasting. Or just ask a question.
28 Dec 2012 From Alyssa
Good afternoon Tom!
We wanted to say thank you for your page, tww.id.au/weather/links.html, all the way from Arlington, Texas! The kids found your page so helpful while working on their Science Fair project due in a couple of weeks!
The group would like to pass along another page, as a thank you: "Weather Central for Kids! - A Guide to Weather Phenomena" at athensaccompanies.com/info/weather-central-for-kids-a-guide-to-weather-phenomenons
They were hoping that you could include this on your site! It's a great page filled with a lot of valuable educational material. I have already used it in my lesson plans actually!
Thank you again and if you do decide to add it, please let me know...they would be delighted to see it up!
Have a wonderful holiday!
15 June 2012 From Andrea
I just wanted to send you a quick e-mail to say thank you for your webpage
http://tww.id.au/weather/links.html. My name is Andrea, and I'm an elementary school teacher in Maryland, USA.
I came across your page while looking for some weather resources to help my class prepare for their end of the year projects. Your page had some great stuff for this. Just wanted to say thanks for all the help!
5 February 2010 From Sarah
Sorry to bother you, but I have been using your page with helpful references on weather as a guide for my class (tww.id.au/weather/links.html) ...It's a great page; thanks for making it!
I thought I would send you an additional page that you might want to add. It's a great page for teaching kids about weather (temperature, precipitation, wind, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc...) It's a gem: Fun Facts About Weather
My student's and I really liked the page - I hope you do too! Sincerely, Sarah
12 January 2010 From: Trudy

My mom, who has passed away, had a saying that went something like this - fog on the fence post means ? and I can't remember if it meant ice or snow. Can you help me out?

14 Sep 2007 From: Thomas

We were on a fishing trip and I quoted the old sailor's rhyme that went
        Red sky at night, sailor's delight,
        Red sky in morning, sailor take warning.

Well, that began a long discussion. I claimed that it was part of a longer poem which I have long forgotten. Another part of the poem went like this (or something like this):

        Horses' manes and horses' tails
        Sailors take down your sails.

Can you help me with the poem. On the internet I have found a lot of weather rhymes but not the poem that I remember. One of the other persons said he alsoremembered the poem.

On looking on the internet, there was a reference to Thomas Campbell's "Campbell's Poetical Works" as a reference but I have not been able to come up with the book or the work. Any insights?

20 Dec 2006 From: Sue, Georgia, USA

Hi, I enjoyed reading some of your folk lore and wanted to share some I grew up with...(and I am 53).

Flies land on you and bite, it is going to rain.

Frogs talking (croaking)..rain is coming.

Winter is not over until you see new buds on a pecan tree.

Cows laying down, fish don't bite.

5 Oct 2006 From: Lawrence

While looking for anything you had on Persimmons I read the "26 Jan 2004 From: Peggy" about the 12 ruling days. I have always understood the 12 days to be the first 12 days of the new year. In other words the First through the Twelfth of January of the new year with each day representing the respective month, 1 through 12, of the new year. I have never heard them called the "Twelve Ruling Days." It has always been "The first 12 days of January will tell you the year's moisture."

I have been trying to pay attention to that but seem to always forget about it in January. Until this year! I managed to pay attention and noted there was little to no precipitation, here in our town, during the first 12 days of January this year. The result has been: Little to no rain all year. We have had a very, very dry year locally and the surrounding counties have had a very dry year also. I live in south central Missouri.

I did not manage to pay attention each or the 12 days and record their individual precipitation so I can not compare them to each of the respective months. I hope to do that sometime.

I also happened to read the "14 Jul 2004 From: Beverly " about the wind and fishing. I want to verify her "accuracy" exclamation. My Grandfather was an avid fisherman and took me along often, very often. I heard that saying nearly every time we went and found it to be accurate. I've even applied it to my outings since his passing and it works.

Besides "Wind from the east, they bite the least. Wind from the west, they bite the best." He had something for north and south also. Until now I've never heard the saying again. I have no clue what the saying for north was but the south was something like "Wind from the south, you'll throw it in their mouth." or "*?/&@**, you gotta throw it in their mouth." It would really be good to get that whole saying if anyone happens to know it.

5 Oct 2006 From: Bill
Always nice to know there is another weather aficionado walking around on planet earth!
I once sat outside, just within the garage overhang, watching an impending storm front move over me... the wind whipping up, the rain coming down harder and harder until it was almost sideways, debris rolling in front of the garage door opening where I kept moving my chair back and further back as the rains splashed within, more and more, until I saw the neighbor's tree wiggle violently and then take off into the sky. I figured it was time to go inside and enjoy the confines of my basement then. When it was all over, I only had 10K of damage to my roof and house. Always nice to sit outside and watch a tornado... and not know it.
3 Aug 2006 From: Connie
I'm not sure if you are still adding to your weather expressions page or not, but my Dad, who grew up on a farm, always used to say:
Herringbone Sky, Won't keep the earth 24 hours dry.
Meaning, of course, that there will be rain within the next 24 hours. This may be an Irish expression, as his Granddad immigrated from Ireland, and most of my Dad's expressions came from him.
Connie has noticed that I had not been updating my pages, but I need input from visitors to do it. I am still alive and active, just have not had many new predictions recently. I would love to hear from you.
30 Nov 2004 From: Sarah
Hi, I was just wondering if seeing lots of red berries on trees/bushes in early autumn means that a cold hard Winter is approaching. I live in the UK and have seen them out earlier this year than usual and my grandparents said that this means that we are in for some harsh weather this year. Is there any truth in this? Thanks.
2 Sep 2004 From: Judi
Have you ever heard of a "sun dog"? it is a spot on either side of the sun, sort of like a round rainbow. I was told it would mean a change in the weather but can't remember how to tell. Thanks.
14 Jul 2004 From: Beverly
My fisherman boyfriend taught me this one...
Wind from the east fish bite least, wind from the west fish bite best.
Accurate? You betcha. Any season too (spring, summer, fall, winter)
31 Mar 2004 From: Mike
Please explain why if ant hills are high in July, winter will be snowy.
EDITORS NOTE:- Can anyone assist with this query.
23 Mar 2004
In regard to your query about Red sky at night ... sailors vs. shepherds. My friends in Britain say shepherds. After all, it is sheep country. Everywhere you go in England you see sheep grazing. Even in fields along highways (motorways). I think the US always said sailors. Only because we have no sheep!
20 Mar 2004 From: Gene
Love your weather page! Here in New Zealand many farmers and outdoorsy people refer to a long range weather website called www.predictweather.com. It is all about the effect of the moon on the weather and mostly he's more accurate than the met services. My father uses the website to plan haymaking times. Also there are interesting articles about earthquakes, global warming etc as well as folklore. You might like to list it in your favourite links column. Keep up the good work! best wishes.
15 Mar 2004 From: Ross
Great website. Was surfing the net and discovered your webpage. In South Africa we have many folklores regarding weather forecasting. I will try to get some for your great website.
4 Mar 2004 From: Jaycee
What is the meaning of this weather folklore?
When the rooster goes crowing to bed, he will rise with a watery head.
15 Feb 2004 From: Jan
An elderly neighbour recently passed away and she used to remember a portion of a poem her mother would recite to her. As she aged, she remembered less and less. All she could remember, and would say this often when she would walk across the lawn, was ""The cornflower is a shade of blue" ..... and would tear up. It also contained something about the wind, or sky????? She couldn't remember anything else. Does this sound like anything you may have read or know of? I would really like to find this poem. I feel as though its like looking for a needle in the middle of a hay stack....
26 Jan 2004 From: Peggy
I am trying to find out when the “Twelve Ruling Days” occur. If anyone knows this bit of weather folklore I’d love to hear from you. The twelve ruling days determine the weather for each of the twelve months!!! This is a bit of old Appalachian folklore. They occur sometime around Christmas. I don't know if they start on Christmas day or the day after, or if they correspond to the twelve days of Christmas, or if they start on "old Christmas". And I don't know precisely which aspects of weather they control! I enjoyed reading the entries and found several of them familiar. "Red clouds at night, sailors delight, red clouds in the morning, sailors take warning" is the version of that one I grew up with, up here in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains!!
16 Dec 2003 From: Bill
I live in an outback town in Queensland Australia and have always been sensitive to impending rain, storms and weather changes. There is a certain time of year that I particularly do not like (which is now Summer)as it will bring thunderstorms. I get pain all over my body and more concentrated in the legs when there may be rain, storms or weather changes within 3 days. I am usually spot on with my predictions (give or take a day). My wife has the same affliction, which at least we can sympathise with each other. My pain will stop when it actually rains, (weird huh!) and then when the rain stops I get the pain again but not as severe until it subsides with the weather. My wife on the other hand doesn't get the relief of pain when it rains (she gets it the whole way through until the weather subsides. We have seen doctors about it in which they can not give an explanation only to say that we are probably barometrically sensitive (as we are 99% water) and to look at it as a gift. I have done some research on this only to find that some theories are that it is a left over inate warning signal that most animals on this earth have but as we have evolved only some of us still have the ability to have this warning sign whilst others have lost it. Does anyone have the same affliction and have they found out anything that can ease the pain. I am interested to hear your experiences, remedies, thoughts.   BACK
16 Oct 2003 From: Steve
Grandma used to say, “When the fog goes up the hill it takes the water from the mill. When the fog comes down the hill, it brings the water to the mill.” Probably a very accurate saying based on the air being heavy with moisture, carrying rain, and vice versa.     Back to rhyming forecasts
9 October 2003 From: Mary, Texas, USA
Plant potatoes during a new moon.
Blackbirds sitting together in rows on the telephone wires, means rain is coming.
Herringbone Sky, neither too wet nor too dry. (clouds have a herringbone pattern)
Clouds moving toward you, that have flat bottoms, means the weather will turn cooler.
Love your site, thanks.
15 Sep 2003 From: Jodi
I have one that I didn't see in your web page. My grandmother used to tell me that you always knew when Spring was truly here when the tree frogs sang for three nights in a row. She used to say that if the tree frogs sang for three nights in a row, there would not be any more snow that season. I have followed this tradition for heralding the warmer season and listen every Springtime. Sure enough, after three nights, Spring has truly come to our region. Yes, we might get colder weather, but no snow from that time on. My children, 6 & 9, have now gotten into the spirit of "listening" for Spring. It’s a wonderful song from our amphibian friends that "sings" true to this day. Thanks! and what a wonderful website you have!   Go Back
14 Sept 2003 From: ??
Hi, I live in the Charleston SC area and as you probably know we may be blessed with a visit from Hurricane Isabel sometime later in the week. Since about Wed we have seen swarms of dragonflies out on the Isle of Palms. Do you know of any folk lore relating to dragonflies? Thanks
23 August 2003 From: Allison
Thank you for your website. I live in the southern United States, and we as a culture are constantly afraid of having snow. My sister and I heard a statement as children that if you count the number of fogs in August, that is the number of snows you will have in winter. Any thoughts on this one? (We could have the month wrong; we weren't sure if it was fogs in August or fogs in October.) Thanks.
13 Jun 2003 From: Kathy, Lewisburg, TN
My father told me of rain crows, but while he could hear them, and taught me what they sounded like, we could never see one. I finally found out what they were by accident, and later saw many, though they are secretive. The Audabon bird book of North American birds list the American Yellow billed cuckoo, and in its description mentions it is sometimes called a rain crow.   Several submissions
16 April 2003 From: Tom
"It must be going to rain as my bones are aching" was a common statement from my mother. She suffered from arthritis which is an inflammation of a joint or joints of the legs and arms. Rheumatism is a similar disease.   Go Back
24 Feb 2003 From: Anne
Hi - I read your website with interest - I have a book which has a lot of folklore and there is mention about something about walnuts and bumper crops of them and what they mean.....I'll email you further with the meaning tomorrow when I bring the book in to work with me!
Sorry for taking so long to get back to you. According to Robin Page's book Weather Forecasting the Country Way (published by Penguin Books) , the weather producing a bumper crop of walnuts is also conducive to producing children.... periods after there were bumper crops of walnuts, there were then bumper crops of illegitimate children approx. 9 months after the bumper crop of walnuts!!!
It's quite an interesting little book.   Go Back
14 Feb 2003 From: Carol
I was raised in Springfield Illinois and my mother always said. Thunder in February, freeze in May. As I got older I would mark the days it thundered in February and see it was true. Well it was true by a day or two either way. Now I live in southern Missouri and I do the same thing but because of being farther south it seems to be a frost in May. I always thought this as interesting thank you.   Go Back
29 Jan 2003 From: Wendy
What a great site! I've long been interested in folklore, especially the stories pertaining to weather. I've "tested" many of the beliefs and found most to be true and applicable to our neck of the woods. We live in the mountains of New South Wales, Australia with an altitude of a little less than 4000 ft.
Off the top of my head, I can think of only a few natural weather predictors, but as others occur to me, I will get back to you.
Here are some which can generally be counted on....
If it rains on the new moon, it will either rain again a week later, or rain for a full week, or the month will be generally wet.
When the rowan, the holly and/or the pittosporum produce many berries, the following winter will be harsh. This is nature's way of providing for the birds .
We live out of town, with National Parks nearby. I've observed that when the choughs come to visit and give their haunting, keening calls, then mist, cool weather and sometimes rain will come from the east and hang around for three days. The choughs often visit, but they have a wide vocal range and save the keening calls to herald in the easterly. We all loooooooove the easterly !!
The black cockatoos are said to fly and call when rain is on the way. Not always reliable. Likewise the swifts - when the swifts soar and swirl in groups, cooler weather and sometimes rain often follows.
And there are the ants. They come into the house in droves prior to rain. When they leave, the rain is imminent. The longer the ants are in the house, the longer the rain will last and/or the heavier it will be.
I've also found some of the British folklore, regarding weather on certain days of the year being a predictor of the length of seasons, to be completely applicable to our area when the particular day is brought forward six months. I've been watching this for years and have thought of one day writing a book about Australian weather indicators. However, having found your great site, I'll send the info on to you to post on your site. First I need to double check my dates. I'll get back to you soon.     Go Back
29 Dec 2002 From: Gwen
I live in southeastern North Carolina. I grew up hearing "Ring around the moon, snow in 30 days. Thunder in winter, snow in 30 days" from all the old people in the area. I live in a rural region. As a matter of fact, the area that was so affected by Hurricane Floyd in 1999.   Go Back
9 Dec 2002 From: "pswpc"
I remember as a child sometimes I would disagree with the weather news man and I would prove to be right. When they asked me how did you know? I said you just have to learn to talk to the ants; naturally they were all quite puzzled by this.   Full details
Thu, 14 Nov 2002
From: George, Barry, TX
My grandmother referred to doves calling as "rain crows".   See other notes.
Fri, 8 Nov 2002 From: Kay
HI.........I just came in from outside, where I found a TOTALLY BLACK wooly worm (bear?). Anyway, his/her coat was SHINEY black and there was NO sign of orange on him/her. I live in western PA, and it is Nov. 8th, 2002. My husband said that means that we'll have a very severe winter...............is that the correct prediction for a wooley bear worm???? Thank you. See other notes.
  More from Kay - Thu, 16 Jan 2003 From: Kay
Hi, from COLD Pennsylvania. I don't know if you remember this question about the wooly bear, or not, but I do know now, that a BLACK wooly bear means a harsh winter. We haven't had an unusually large amount of snow, but we've had several pretty good amounts. Most of the really heavy snow has stayed north of us. However, we have had some REALLY cold temperatures.
Even that isn't setting any records, but the length of time of these cold spells is breaking some long-standing records. Right now, for example, we've had temperatures in the mid to low 20's, during the day, and down into the teens, or single digits at night, for about two solid weeks, and the weather man said it will continue for AT LEAST another week, and possibly longer than that. So it will be almost a month of these temps. That's pretty unusual for our area. So, I just stay in and stay warm.
By now, I guess it's beautiful where you live, and, as you said, you're swimming, boating, and enjoying the sun. Sounds NICE. Enjoy it, and think of us up here in the deep freeze.
Sat, 28 Sep 2002 From: A Grandmother in SC, USA
Greetings! I remember a poem from my childhood with the line "October's bright blue weather"......in searching for that on the web I found your site. Love It! Will return again and again. Thanks for all your efforts. Now.....can you help me with my search? Do you know where I can find my bright blue weather ? 29 January 2003 An answer has arrived together with two other weather poems.
To the poems page
Sat, 27 Jul 2002 - From: Sean
A good web site full of interesting information I would prefer it did away with some of the lines and compacted the information better with less pages.
Wed, 26 Jun 2002 - From: Peter
Hi Tom, I was reviewing your page today, it's very interesting and brings memories of my childhood back to me, when I saw the discussion about March winds. The saying that I remember from my childhood goes like this: If March comes in like a lion, it will go out as a lamb; if it comes in like a lamb, it will go out as a lion. Maybe this will help out the following lady from your web site, "Sun, 10 Mar 2002 From: Aime'"     Go Back
Thu, 20 Jun 2002
From: Peter
I live in Southern California and I win bets during the rainy season by a bit of folklore I learned when I was a kid. "If there's no dew on the grass in the morning, rain will be here within 24 hours." The guy that told it to me said that the clouds had gathered all the water to make the storm bigger.   Go Back
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Sat, 22 Jun 2002 - From: Nell
Terrific Site!! I just love it!! Albertville, AL USA
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Sun, 10 Mar 2002 - From: Aime'
I was looking at your great site today because we were having a disagreement about March winds. It ’s very windy today here in Connecticut (here ’ s a link to my favorite weather site, located about 10 miles to SE across Long Island Sound: http://wx.bnl.gov/WxMaps.jsp).
I quoted the saying “March comes in like a lamb, goes out like a lion.” My companion said that I must have it wrong. March comes in like a lion (winter) and out like a lamb (spring). This surprised me because I had been taught that the saying means that as March progresses, you get more windy days. Perhaps that interpretation has something to do with the fact that I grew up in Arkansas, where early March is quite calm, but late March begins the tornado season.
It seems like this saying might be true either way. Do you know which is the time-honored interpretation?   Go Back
08 Feb 2002 - From: Peter
The lore from the South Island of New Zealand, and seeing the mountains if it's going to rain, or not seeing them if it is raining, is told in England about Manchester and the Pennines. I would think that the New Zealand version is likely based on a memory of Manchester by an early settler.
In Birmingham England, it is said that if you could smell the chocolate from Cadbury's factory it was going to rain. This must be fairly recent, as the factory was only built in about 1840. I suppose it was based on the wind being in a particular direction, or a heavy atmosphere holding the smell near the ground.   Go Back
31 Jan 2002 - From: Len, North Yorks. UK.
I enjoyed your site regarding weather sayings, re "Ash before oak" I'm not sure if it applies to the breaking of the buds in spring or Autumn leaf fall. I suspect the former. It would be interesting to know if the saying is correct. I always forget to check. Best wishes   Go Back
Fri, 14 Dec 2001 - From: Bill
I know that you understand that sound is better transported through water than dry air. Increased humidity carries sound better -- it also is a good indicator of impending rain. My mom grew up on a farm 2.5-3 miles from a train track. She said if they heard the train whistle they knew it would rain. I'd be flattered if you could include this on your site somehow, but most of all good and accurate info is paramount and a pleasure to share.   Go Back
Thu, 15 Nov 2001 - From: Cole
Hello, I enjoyed your website on weather lore. I live in Tennessee in the U.S. . We also have many of the same beliefs about weather forecasting, especially "red sky at night- sailor's delight" (even though we are far from the coast, this saying has persisted here for years, as well) and the shade of the "woolly worm" for predicting the severity of the winter. Here are some from the States, if you are interested:
In the state of Texas, people will not hang the wash outside(which few people do anymore) when the sky has a bluish black cast, which signals a dust storm approaching. In Tennessee greenish clouds are a sign of tornadoes or extremely strong winds. I have seen greenish hued clouds when I was child and we had to go from the house to a cinder block building because of the strength of the wind!
There is a saying prevalent throughout much of the Southern states of the U.S. "If you don't like the weather in (this state), wait ten minutes and it will change!". Each person I have heard say this, thought it was peculiar to their state, but I have heard this said in Tennessee, Texas and Louisiana. Enjoyed Your Site,   Go Back
Webmaster's note:- "If you don't like the weather in ***" is also common in Melbourne and Tasmania.
Wed, 03 Oct. 2001 From: Donna
I searched your site for the tale of the persimmon seed and how they would tell the weather for the coming winter. I know you can't pick them till after the first frost. You slice the seed in half (on the narrow side) and inside you will find a fork, a spoon or a knife. The knife I believe, means the cold weather will cut you like a knife. But what do the other two mean? Have you heard of this one? I live is the state of Missouri. The grade school kids that I work with think it is amazing that you can see a spoon, fork or a knife inside the seed. Can you imagine how they feel when I can tell them what it is suppose to be predicting!! Thanks for checking on this.   Go Back
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Date: Mon., 5 Nov. 2001 - From: Brenda
I enjoyed your website. I was looking for more information concerning the old saying that you could tell what the coming winter weather was by cracking open the pit of the persimmon. Inside the pit you will see the image of one of three things, a knife, a fork or a spoon. This October the persimmons here in Missouri, USA have all shown a spoon quite clearly. I cannot remember what each image indicates in weather other than the spoon means a lot of snow. If anyone out there knows please contact me via email.
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Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2001 - From: Brenda
I think the definition in the Webster's Dictionary is about the simplest and is as follows:
"Any of a genus of trees of the ebony family with white, cup-shaped flowers, hard wood, and yellow or orange-red, plum like fruit which is sour and astringent when green, but sweet and edible when thoroughly ripe. I find it interesting that the other inquiry about persimmons came from Missouri. Must be a Midwestern saying.
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Date: Wed, 7 Nov 2001 - From: Earl
Hello! I have heard that persimmon seed kernels can forecast winter weather. If you break open the seed, the kernel will either be shaped like a knife, fork, or spoon. If the knife shape is in place, expect a winter with cold winds. If the spoon shape is in place, expect a winter with much wet snow. If you find the fork shape, a mild winter is in store with some possibly light snow. This year in NW Arkansas, I am finding mostly spoon shapes but some "spork" shapes as well. We shall see!   Go Back
Mon, 29 Oct 2001 From: Swan
Hi Tom, WOW!! Yours is a great website with truly compelling historical information!! THANKS!! I have always enjoyed the wisdom of the ages regarding weather or environmental conditions. I think most of it is based upon the law of averages as assessed by folks with good common sense and artistic powers of observation!! I love to predict the severity of winter in this part of zone 5, SE Massachusetts. Unfortunately, I have become a winter weather guru for too many people---the pressure is intense at times!! And......modesty prevents me from saying how accurate I have been for years...so far...
I look at certain bushes, such as my pyrocantha. The first year I got this plant for the autumn interest found in the orange berries a swarm of birds descended LABOR DAY WEEKEND and seemingly inhaled every last berry just hours after they had turned their bright color!! Now why did I get this bush, I asked myself?? well, that was the record-breaking snowy winter of 1995-1996!! Since then, I anxiously watch that bush to see if the flock returns!! SO far, NO......my theory is that the feathery creatures receive messages from Mother Nature to consume the berries which would be under a heavy, constant snowfall in the years when that will be a factor. That winter, after I spoke about my quirky experience, others reported grapes stripped from wild vines and other types of berries or rose hips along their ways.
I am interested especially in folklore winter weather predictions. I loved the e-mail about the October moon as a gauge of the coming snows!! I have heard about an obscure prediction of summer's mosquitos from the amount or the earliness of snows in the previous winter. My sense is that this is from the Appalachians. I believe in the wooly caterpillar to some degree. I believe the adage is "the wider the brown (or orange, middle section) the warmer the winter" I think this is a good, but not great indicator.
One indicator I rely upon, as another person on the e-mail list does, is the nut storing frantic-activity or lack thereof of the squirrels in our neighborhood. I also look at how lush their tales are! This year (oh, here she goes, out on the proverbial limb!!) the squirrels in my SE Massachusetts gardens are pretty darn lazy and skimpy-tailed. We have a well-loved water garden and this year, upon cleaning it for the winter, I found the most whole or slightly bitten and discarded acorns that I have found in 7 years of fishing in this water!! After I made my prediction to my breathless friends, my husband bought me a copy of The Farmer's Almanac which seems to corroborate my feelings.
Well, I will try to e-mail in a few months to tell you if my "light yet not snow-LESS warmer winter" prediction comes true.......that is, if I can dig the computer out from the record snowfall that joker Mr. Nature may just send our way!! Keep on keepin' on!!!   BACK
Wednesday, 15 August 2001 From: Faye Whiteley
I like your site very much. I have heard most of the sayings, rhyming and non-rhyming from my parents and grandparents.
My grandmother always said if the chickens stay out in the rain, the rain will be an all day rain, but if they run into the chicken house, it will be a short shower. I guess they thought they would starve if they went inside and waited all day for the rain to stop, so they stayed outside to eat. But if it was going to be just a short shower, they would stay dry and then come back out. This always seemed to be a correct indicator of how much it was going to rain.   BACK
My father said if there are spider webs in the grass in the morning it will not rain that day. Also, if there is a heavy dew, it will not rain.   Go Back
My father-in-law says that when flies are hanging around the doors and windows and trying to get into the house, it is a sign of rain. He says "the flies are noting rain."   Go Back
He also talks about "rain crows" that he hears just before it rains. I don't know what kind of birds they are. Have you ever heard of rain crows?   BACK
When I was little, my father would say if the sky was red in the morning, the ewe and her lamb would go wet to bed. I thought he was saying, "you and your lamb will go wet the bed."   Go Back
Sun, 15 Jul 2001 - From: Charlie Northcroft
I have just found your Folk Lore Forecasting web page and absolutely love it. It is so important to collect this sort of information and to pass it on.
For your "Finally - let us not be too serious" section. From the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand where they get 200 inches of rain a year. "If you look out the window and the mountains seem close, it's a sure sign that rains not far away. If you look out and you can't see the mountains, it's already raining!" Stan Northcroft.
On a more serious note, my Uncle Stan used to say that the shape of the new moon gave an indication of the likelyhood of rain. He said that it could be either holding water or pouring it out. (I have not verified this with observation so don't know if this proved true locally or if it's more generally true. I think he meant it was a general indicator for the month.) I would be interested in seeing some more of the information on animals as indicators.   Go Back
Thu, 3 May 2001 From: Clint Brown
Interesting site! This is not rhyming, but some people have the ability to "smell" snow coming. My grandfather could, but could only describe it as a "wet" smell.   BACK
Also my father, who was a market gardner, was convinced that dry and wet seasons ran in 7 year cycles. He also believed that if a rain shower produced bubbles in puddles, there would be rain the following day. I've observed this also.   BACK
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Tue, 24 Apr 2001 From: Jeanne Loved your site. I found it very interesting, as I have also heard many of the adages about predicting the weather before. I know that some are true, such as the red sky and the turning of the leaves (I heard this turning is due to 'guard cells' on the bottom of the leaves needing the rain).   Go Back
Here in Northeast Pennsylvania we predict the upcoming winter by the foraging of the animals. If many squirrels and chipmonks seem to be gathering food, more than usual, it suggests a snowy winter. The same is true with the local Black Bears (we have many). They do seem to eat more and be seen more before a snowy winter. I don't know if there was ever a study done relating the number of Bear sightings to the amount of snow, it would be interesting.   Go Back
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Sun, 22 Apr 2001 From: Bob Mitchell As a home gardener, I rely on one main folk lore to judge safe planting times for tender plants in the spring. The coming and passing of "Dogwood Winter". In the spring we'll have some warm days early on, but each year when the dog wood trees are in full bloom, a few days of colder weather will arrive. Sometimes this "Dogwood Winter" will bring frost, damaging tender plants.
Two days ago Dogwood winter gave way to days of 85+ degrees. Today I planted my tomato plants.
In thirty years of gardening, I've never seen Dogwood Winter fail to arrive just as the dogwood trees are in full bloom and I've never lost any plants to frost. Neighbors who wouldn't listen, were not so lucky. But now, they believe in the Dogwood Trees' ability to forecast the end of cold weather.   Go Back
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Wed, 4 Apr 2001 From: Sandy M. Russell Read your site and found it very interesting and informative....
When I was a child,my grandfather was a great source on information on weather related subjects...many, being the impertinent child that I was, I would have to check for myself.
Growing up in St.Paul Minnesota afforded me many opportunities to check grandfathers "weather indicators" as we seem to have gotten the extremes of weather.
The turning over of the leaves is absolutely true,and one of the better forecasters of Thunderstorms...the lower on the tree and the lighter the backside of the leave,usually meant I had enough time to get home before I got soaked.   Go Back
Something that I didn't see on your site, were any Tornado indicators...one which has never failed me and also one I learned from granddad was to listen for normal summer sounds, birds, crickets and the sound of the wind. Before a tornado, the birds and bugs become very still "go into hiding" and it becomes "abnormally quiet". The wind also seems to become eerily calm, and the sky turns "greenish"....a sure sign to get to the basement or at least a place of safety.
Contrary to popular belief,thunderstorms do not always precede a tornado,and knowing the signs can be a life saver.   Go Back
Sat, 3 Mar 2001 From: Maggi
I've always believed in the "wooly" caterpillar..Here in north-west Pennsylvania we"ve heard if the "wooly" is all black it will be a bad winter and if he only has small bands of black (which by the way are always on the ends not in the middle) and stays orange in the center it will be milder..My Granddaughter was raking up birdseed under the willow today and found a frozen little "ball" of a wooly, she knows i really like them, and brought it into me..I held him in my closed hand and blew warmth into him and soon he was crawling in my palm..Very ticklish i might add..Anyway he had a dark band at his head (and we had some very cold weather at the beginning of Fall) then he had about 1/3rd of his body in bright orange then a sort of mottled black "butt". And lately we've had days in the 60s and next day 10 degrees, so i really trust them,wouldn't you???   Go Back
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Wed, 14 Feb 2001 From: Lori
These came from my grandmother Irene (who has passed away). As a child she and my mother would tell stories of how their elders could predict rain and winds, as well as how may days until the first snow fall. I have always found these to be true, and quite fun when I tell my children as they always would say "yeah right" until the weather actually changed!
One was how the leaves on trees have upturned. Especially on a hot, humid summer day. Air felt very heavy, and as we returned from a trip from the beach, I noticed, that there was a slight breeze, and that the leaves on the lower part of the trees had turned up, looking almost white. I told my children that this forbode a thunder shower, and later that evening, we had quite a loud thunder shower. The lower the leaves turn on the tree, meant severe rain and thunder, and the higher it went the less chance of it being too severe. Swirling to the right, big rain, to the left little rain. (as in drops) Now my children predict the weather to their friends.   Go Back
Cows lying down, good indication of rain.
October rings around the moon.....this was always fun. If it was full in October, usually the new moon, my mother would take her hand and place it towards the moon, letting the Moon cradle in the area between the thumb and the pointer finger, and she would see how far the ring would rise on her hand. Then she would figure how long it would be before the first snow fall. Example: the ring would be an inch and a half long, from the edge of the moons surface to the end of the ring outwards. She would figure per quarter inch, how many weeks it would be, so it would be six weeks until the first snow fall. She was always right. She did this on the fist new moon of October, the first visible ring, and every time, she got it!! If there was no visible ring on the moon, she would wait until the second moon of the month, and do the same, only she would cut the ring in half.   Go Back
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Tue, 13 Feb 2001 - From: Pat Pflieger
Love your weather page. (& the link to "Prognostications of the Weather" on my site devoted to Merry's Museum is very flattering; I'm glad people are finding the piece enjoyable.) A friend told me that his grandmother used to say
"Snow like meal, snow a great deal."
And I have noticed that, in the eastern U.S., at least, when snowflakes are fine as corn meal, it does seem to snow a lot!
My family repeats the reminder that
"there's three snows after the forsythia blooms."
And we do often seem to get 3 snowfalls after forsythia bushes begin to bloom.   Go Back
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Sat, 20 Jan 2001 - From: Peter
A short one for you, think I have it the right way...
Wind before the rain, turn and shoot again,
Rain then the wind, pick up and go in... See observing wind
Wed, 17 Jan 2001 - nimalan_v asked several questions
My reply was as follows- I will answer your questions one by one. ** Hi, I've recently visited your website and i would like to know if the following ones are either true of false:-
** 1. Geese fly higher when the weather is foul.
I do not know as we do not have wild geese in Australia, I have heard this one before and there was an explanation for why it was correct, it was something to do with the air pressure/barometer reading.
NOTE. Added 10 April 2002.
From: Kevin
Who says there are no wild geese in Australia? He/she should visit Hindmarsh island in South Australia and watch the Cape Barren Geese fly overhead, there are so many that some people are talking about a cull.   Opps!
** 2. Moss dry, sunny sky, moss wet, rain we will get.
A new one to me but it sounds as if it would be correct. I will add it to my page if that is OK with you.
** 3. Sea Gull, sea gull, sit on the sand. Its never good weather when you are at hand.
Yes. This is in the page and I know it is correct as I can look out of my window and see the seagulls sitting on the land on a windy day.   Go Back
** 4. No weather is ill if the wind is still.
Only recently found this one, but it makes sense. If there is no wind I believe at the worst it will only be light rain. I am not aware how this would effect a land where snow settles for many months of the year.
** 5. Flowers smell best just before the rain.
Have not heard it before, but it could be possible.
** 6. When leaves show their back, rain we won't lack.   Go Back
Have not heard it before, may be possible, but I would need convincing of this one.
** 7. Bees do not swarm before a storm.
Have not heard it before, but it could be possible as a storm means low air pressure and when bees swarm they are going to look for a new home. They would not start the search if they knew the weather was going to be bad.
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November 2000 - From Roslyn Schwartz
This isn't a verse, but I've heard that if you see a ring of clouds around the moon, it's going to rain within a day. Note from the Webmaster Thank you Roslyn you have reminded me that my mother often spoke of a ring around the moon warning, but she did not mention the clouds. This is an interesting adage as from Roslyn's email address I think she is in Canada and my mother lived at the other end of the world in Tasmania the island state of Australia.   Go Back
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October 2000. From: Tom
One morning as we opened the curtains the entire view from the window was of a sky covered with large pink clouds. I said "Red sky in the morning, sailors warning", never thinking that my statement would come true. In the middle of that afternoon a storm broke and our lawn was soon covered with a white layer of hail stones. The next days newspaper reported that yachts competing in a local race had suffered torn sails and hull damage as a result of collisions when overpowered by the storm.   Go Back
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July 2000. From: Patricia Kustra,
The actual spelling of the caterpillar's name is "wooly bear." It has contrasting black and rust coloured bands. The wooly bear will become a tiger moth. According to the Old Farmers Almanac6 Forum (which I found on the internet. One of the stories has it that if the black middle band is longer and skinnier than its outer rust coloured bands, there will be a mild winter. Another story says that the fatter the wooly bear, the longer and harsher the winter. Hope this helps.   Go Back
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April 2000 From: Denise M
Two weather related slogans that I've heard have more to do with farmers:
"When March blows it's horn, your barn will be filled with hay and corn,"
meaning, a thunderstorm in March will forecast your harvest, and another about the corn crop itself...."Knee high by the fourth of July" means if the corn is knee high you'll have a good crop.   Go Back I also heard something about the wholly bear (sp) caterpillar, but I'm not sure if it's an orange one that forecasts a severe winter or a black one. I think it's a black one, and I'd like to know where to find this out.   Go Back
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Wed, 29 Mar 2000 From: Ann Barnes
I do not see any mention in your discussion of 'Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning, etc' that this is from the Bible. It appears in Matthew 16:2-3 tho without the rhyming pattern. That weather pattern was known to folks over 2000 years ago.

Are there anymore folklore sayings out there. Please email me if you know of any.

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