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Predicting The Weather - Storm Week

Predicting the Weather

Predicting the weather is a useful skill to have. Our day to day lives are often dictated by the weather. During the work week, most people work inside and the weather has little impact on their plans for the day. It is nice to know how to dress for the little exposure that they will have to it. People who live and work outside have an completely different point of view. Farmers, ranchers, fisherman, construction, public service and safety workers, all have a different view of the weather. Predicting the weather can affect their well being and comfort and they are highly dependent on predicting the weather.

Predicting the weather

Forecasting The Weather

Forecasting or predicting the weather is still important to us. In the not to distant past, our society was made up of a mostly agrarian society. These agricultural occupations and many others were exposed to the weather and their livelihood depended greatly on their ability to predict the weather. Even today, for a fisherman, farmer or rancher, weather is the determining factor in whether or not it will be safe to go out on the water and should or should not work the fields, gather hay or gather the harvest.

Television, Radio And Internet Weather Forecasts

Predicting the weather for weekend outings, gardening, construction projects and other outdoor activities is still important to us. Using television and radio forecasts to plan your weekend isn't a bad thing at all. The weather forecasting ability of meteorologists has came a long way in the last 50 or so years, greatly aided by satellite maps and weather reporting stations throughout the country. Although, I feel like the modern day computer modeling for long range forecasts leaves a lot to be desired. For long range forecasts, I check the satellite maps myself. Opting for maps that have the high and low areas of barometric pressure noted along with the frontal boundary's and isobars shown for wind prediction. I used to depend on the experience of some of the older meteorologists/weather men from my area. Unfortunately, the last weatherman that could dependably predict the weather retired and passed away several years ago. In resent years, with the advent of computer modeling, they would take the forecast of the computer model and check it against their own experienced ability of predicting the weather. If the computer model didn't agree with their prediction, they would tell you that on the air during the weather segment of the news broadcast. The vast majority of the time, the meteorologists prediction was correct. These types of "weatherman", were often not a degreed meteorologist, but were often better at weather prediction than the present day meteorologist due to a lifetime of weather observation and the experience they had amassed over the years and the lack of dependence on modern computer modeling.

Did You Ever Know Someone Who Forecast The Oncoming Winter

For me, a child of 12-14 years old, this person was a janitor at school, by the name of Hiram. A dearly loved and highly respected man by staff and students alike. His Predicting the weather "tool" was his cow. Each year, he would observe that cow and how she walked through his farm fences. Her walking through the fence backwards meant the oncoming winter would be bad. While me, a man long past that period and time in my life, no longer believes in such prediction methods. BUT, I have to admit he was right all of the years but one that I can remember.

Do It Yourself Weather Forecasting

Long before modern day weather forecasting, people forecasted the weather for themselves based on their own observations of the world around them. Using your own observation skills, you can predict the short term weather. As a prepper and as I participate in bushcraft (we used to just call it camping), predicting the weather is important to me.

Some old sayings like "red sky in the morning, sailors take warning". "Red sky at night, sailors delight", are still useful today. Some, not so much. A good source of weather forecasting information are fisherman and farmers. They stay aware of the weather. Their livelihood depends on it.

Some of The Better Known Sayings

  • "Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning". "Red sky at night, sailors delight". The red in the sky is caused by dust particles, among other things in the atmosphere, reflecting sunlight.  If the sky is red in the morning, the approaching front has likely pushed the fair weather east, making room for the coming rain.
  • Smoke. If the smoke from fire or anything else is staying close to the ground, there is a low pressure area close and the chance of precipitation is increased. If smoke rises way up into the sky, that means a high pressure area is present and fair weather is likely. By the same token, when the smoke has been being high but is rising to less and less height, you know a low pressure area is on the way and the chance of precipitation is increased.
  • The higher and thinner the clouds, the finer the weather. Thin wispy clouds mean fair weather. If it's morning or early afternoon and the high clouds are small and puffy, keep an eye on them. As the sun heats the cloud tops and if they began to get taller and larger, they may become a thunder cloud but this kind of cloud usually only effects a small area. Watch where the prevailing winds are carrying the cloud. If it's not toward you, you have no worry.
  • Clouds that are tall, and become more numerous through out the day and are shaped like towers are likely to produce thunderstorms.
  • A solid bank of dark clouds mean rain.
  • A green hue in the atmosphere, there is a possibility of tornado. TAKE COVER!
  • A hale storm with hale stones of a half inch or larger means the height of clouds necessary for producing half inch hale are the same clouds capable of producing tornadoes.
  • Large white clouds that look like cauliflower with lumps sticking out of it means there is a lot of activity in it leading to a thunderstorm as the day wears on.
  • Large puffy clouds that look like cotton are not rain clouds but if they take on a dark look, it's probably going to rain.
  • A rainbow to your west in the morning means rain is west of you and it will probably rain where you are at shortly.
  • If there is a ring or halo around the moon it's going to rain within a few days. This ring means a warm front containing moisture is approaching.
  • A large area of dark on the west horizon means a large area of rain is coming your way.
  • If you are caught in a shower that seemed to come out of nowhere, it will likely soon pass.
  • Pine cones are a good indicator of moisture in the air. so is your hair. If a pine cone closes up, there is high humidity. If it closes up relatively quickly, moisture is increasing and rain is likely.
  • Keep a check of the smells around you. When a low pressure area is present, smells are stronger due to the smells staying closer to the ground. If vegetation smells are strong, a low is near and rain likely.


A good investment for weather prediction is a barometer. Knowing  the actual atmospheric pressure is a great assist in knowing the weather. Once properly set, you can keep up with when the pressure is going down to the point that rain is likely.

A home made barometer can be made with an old glass soft drink bottle and a glass jar. Fill the jar ¾ full of water and invert (bottle opening first) into the jar. As the air pressure rises, the bottle will rise out of the jar due to air pressure increasing and pushing down on the waters surface. As a low pressure area approaches, it will lower. You will likely have to mark the position of the bottle to notice the change. With this method, you can't take dependable pressure measurements due to evaporation of the water but it can be a short term indicator of rising or falling pressure and is a good method of predicting a low pressure front approaching for good fishing and hunting weather.

National Weather Service

If all else fails, check with the National Weather Service (NWS) for your local weather.



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