Weather Wives

A woman is always right.

Specifically women who have proven to be correct time and time again. Cue Mother Theresa, Mother Nature, and The Farmer’s Wife.

You may have heard them from your grandmother, or the elderly lady at your church, but The Farmer’s Wife has written down a few truths about life as we know it, they’re called wives’ tales.


Before the days of radars, satellites, computers, and digital models, weather was predicted in a much different way. People, specifically farmers (aka olden day meteorologists), logged weather phenomena on a day to day basis and began creating patterns to predict what kind of weather they could expect yearly.

As technology grew, these patterns slowly became ignored or considered inaccurate. There were better, more precise, ways to predict precipitation and temperature changes. The old patterns became known as wives’ tales and eventually ended up in the Farmers’ Almanac for everyone to have a good laugh at.

But what if some of these old wives’ actually knew what they were talking about? Let’s take a look at a few of time’s greatest tales:

1. Thunder in winter, snow 7 to 10 days later.

Winter thunderstorms happen on a rare occasion, but when they do, the wives’ predict snow one week later. On a similar note, if the first crack of thunder comes from the east, then winter is over.

2. Red sky at night, sailor’s delight; red sky in the morning, sailor’s take warning.

A red sunset can predict calm waters for sailors, however a red sunrise means just the opposite. When the sun rises and appears red, this means that the light is reflecting off the clouds and that a storm could be building, resulting in choppy waters.


3. For every fog in August, there will be a snowfall.

If you kept track of your foggy days in August, perhaps you will know how many snowy days you can expect for the winter. Although no large scale studies have been performed to check the factuality of this tale, it does seem like an interesting experiment to do on your own.

Take them as you will, but scientific studies have proven that most of these tales hold some truth behind them. They may not be entirely exact, but the tales themselves are able to provide a general knowledge of what kind of weather you may be faced with, before your weatherman tells you. Looks like the old wives’ may know a thing or two about weather patterns, even without a meteorology degree.

Written by Lydia Blume, an Atmospheric Sciences Student at the University of North Dakota.


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