We’ve had weather lore and sayings for generations, but where did they come from and do they mean anything? Most importantly, are these true?
“Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red skies in the morning, sailors take warning”
This one is likely the most well known, and even appears in the Bible in the book of Matthew!
“When evening comes, you say, ‘it will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ 3 and in the morning, ‘today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.”
To start, weather for the most part moves from west to east, so red sky at night, you are looking at the sunset in the west. Areas of high pressure are more stable, and have a higher concentration of dust particles within them.
As the sun’s rays pass through an area of high pressure during sunset, only the red wavelength can pass through due to the dust and the thickness of the atmosphere. We can assume that this area of high pressure will come through by tomorrow, signaling a nice day.
It’s essentially the opposite for the red skies in the morning portion. You’re looking to the east in the morning to see the sunrise and see the light passing through an area of high pressure that has already passed. It can be implied that the calm weather has passed us and that more active weather is possible today.
Other examples of weather lore are:
“Rainbow in the morning gives you fair warning”
That a rain shower will be on the way soon since the sun in the east is casting light off to the west where an approaching shower is coming from.
“Halo around the sun or moon, rain or snow soon”
This would signify moonlight shinning through cirrus clouds in the sky. They are often the first clouds to show up with an approaching storm system.
While none of these are not totally accurate, there is at least some truth to them.