Predicting the weather

People have always been interested in predicting the weather. In today's weather world, meteorologists use brand new technology to forecast the weather. Before this equipment was available, people watched the skies or did the forecasting by the behavior of animals and plants.

The essential book of weather lore : time-tested weather wisdom and why the weatherman isn't always right
Leslie Alan Horvitz.
Pleasantville, NY : Reader's Digest Association, c2007.
Believe it or not, folklore and science have more in common than you might imagine. With The Essential Book of Weather Lore learn how you can... Predict the weather by peeling an onion or examining the bubbles in your coffee. Use plants as meteorological tools by watching how they open and close their flowers or turn their leaves "to show their backs" before rain. Foretell the next storm by observing your cat or dog. Grab for your umbrella it you hear a rooster crow at night....and more! Book jacket.
Eric Sloane's weather almanac : a classic illustrated guide to weather folklore and forecasting
by Eric Sloane.
Stillwater, MN : Voyageur Press, c2005.
This omnibus collects two Sloane books-Eric Sloane's Almanac and Weather Forecaster (1955) and Folklore of American Weather (1963). Eric Sloane may best be remembered for his paintings and books of Americana folklore, yet these interests came later in life. First and foremost, Sloane was an artist with a fascination for cloudscapes. Sloane was named Everard Jean Hinrichs at birth on February 27, 1905 in New York City. He later assumed his pseudonym while studying art. In his book I Remember America, he writes that the name came to him while listening to a conversation between artists George Luks and John Sloan. The pair suggested young artists paint under an assumed name while perfecting their craft so early inferior works would not be attached to them. Hinrichs adopted the name #244;Sloan, #246; then added an #244;e #246; just to be different. #244;Where the #230;Eric #198; came from, I don #198;t recall, #246; he later wrote. Hinrichs left home at nineteen to travel America as a sign painter, creating advertisements for everything from Red Man Tobacco to Bull Durham, highway signs to caf #233; windows. Returning to New York, he won assignments painting aviation portraits of notables such as Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh, and Wiley Post, who taught him to fly in exchange for art lessons. During these flights, Hinrichs fell in love with clouds. Striving to learn more about weather, Sloane researched and wrote his first book, Clouds, Air and Wind, published in 1941 and soon adopted by the U.S. Army Air Corps as a weather manual for pilots. Sloane was not a formally trained meteorologist, yet he was skilled in explaining and illustrating the forces of weather for experts and laypersons alike. In the following years, he published several other books on weather, including Eric Sloane #198;s Almanac and Weather Forecaster (1955) and Folklore of American Weather (1963), which are reprinted here in omnibus form.

Sailors relied on the weather proverb; “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in morning, sailor’s warning” A red sky at night means that as the sun is shining its rays through a cloud of water vapor or dust particles. That means high pressure is coming in from the west and good weather is on the way.  A red sky at sunrise means the suns light reflects dust particles of a storm system that may be moving to the east.

Do you know someone who claims they can tell when the weather is going to change? They may have a  old injury or arthritis that flares up. Some scientist study the relationship between atmospheric conditions and people.

Human biometeorology

In the fall, cities across the globe hold woolly worm festivals. The woolly worm can be spotted in great numbers inching across the ground. It's bands of black and brown predict the type of winter that lies ahead. If the woolly worm has more brown on its body than black, it will be a fair winter. If it has more black than brown, the winter will be harsh.

Flowers can let you know what the weather will be. The Scarlet Pimpernel, also known as the "poor man’s weather glass", and the Morning Glory keep their petals open for sunny weather and fold them up when rain is expected.

It might be fun to put these old wives tales up against the Doppler radar to see which method is most accurate in predicting the weather.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff