We're building a NEW & IMPROVED website. We're excited. We hope you are too! LEARN MORE
If you are planning to travel or enjoy outdoor activities, you probably check the weather report on your smart phone, computer, television, or radio. All offer reliable information about impending weather thanks to modern technology.
Today, meteorologists use an impressive assortment of high-tech equipment to measure, report on, and predict weather, including satellites, radar, thermometers, barometers, anemometers, ocean buoys, and sophisticated weather balloons. Before the invention of modern weather forecasting tools and gadgets, however, people looked for signs in nature to predict weather. They found clues in the the sky above them, the sea below them, and the behaviors and migration of animals, birds, and insects around them.
If you would like to try your hand at predicting the weather like our forefathers and foremothers did in years gone by, give the following a try.
Examine a pine cone. When the air is dry, pine cones open up and their scales stand out to allow their seeds to be picked up by wind and dispersed over a wider area. When the air is humid and rain is likely, pine cones will close up to protect seeds. Drenched, heavy seeds won’t get very far.
Birdwatch. Birds stay closer to the ground before a storm. They fly lower or perch on branches, telephone wires, or other structures.
Go fish. Fish tend to be more active and may even seem more plentiful before a rain storm. That’s because they are chasing the tiny organisms they feed on that often rise from the bottom of a body of water when air pressure lowers.
Observe bees. You won’t see many bees around if rain is coming. Bees sense the humidity in the air and stay home in their hives.
Eavesdrop on a cricket. The chirp of a cricket is almost as reliable in telling the temperature as a thermometer. Count the number of chirps a cricket makes in 14 seconds, add that number to 40, and the total will be very close to the air temperature in Fahrenheit.
Listen for frogs. Frogs can get extra noisy before a storm. They are able to remain out of the water longer because of the high humidity in the air so they have more time to sing.
Look for halos. A halo becomes visible around the sun or moon when ice crystals reflect and refract the light, which happens when a low-pressure warm front is approaching and will mostly likely bring rain with it.
Stop and notice the flowers. Many flowers – like tulips, morning glories, and dandelions, -- will react before a change in the weather, opening up their petals for good weather and closing them for rain.
Check out an ant hill. Ants will often build up the sides of ant hills when a storm is approaching... so look to see if their hills are steeper. Ants may also close up the holes that serve as entryways to their homes when they sense a weather change is coming.