Friday, August 19, 2011

Predicting Rain - Popular Weather Sayings in the 19th Century

An enormous rainbow was in the sky from the Northeast to the Southeast yesterday evening, and it rained and thundered just to the Northwest - nary a drop fell on this sandy hill...........

"THE chief signal officer at Washington is seeking material for a collection of popular weather sayings, proverbs, and prognostics used throughout the country . . .  The writer does not vouch for the correctness of the prognostics. He gives them as they were given to him, and the reader may judge for himself as to their value. The divisions made by the chief signal officer are twenty-three in number." 
The Chief Signal Officer in D.C. collecting weather sayings?!  Here are a few of the 23 presented in Ballou's Monthly  Magazine, 1890 , and of course the very last one is the truest old saying of all :

**When there is a rainbow in the morning, there will be rain soon. When there is a rainbow at night, it will not rain the next day.
"A rainbow in the morning
Is the sailor's warning;
A rainbow at night
Is the sailor's delight."  

**A halo around the sun indicates that there will be rain or snow soon. If the sun rises clear and soon goes into a cloud, it will rain before night. If the sun shines while it rains, it will rain the next day. A sun dog, or mock sun, indicates that there will be stormy weather very soon.

**When in the morning you see the ground covered with webs covered with dew and dew on the ground around, it is a sign of rain before night, for the spiders are putting out umbrellas. But others say, " When the spiders put out their sunshades, it will be a hot day."

**If bats fly low and come into the house; if cattle lie down in the morning and chew the cud; if horses toss their heads, sniff, and are very uneasy; if rats and mice are restless and squeak; if swine are uneasy, grunt loudly, and squeal; if cats and dogs eat grass and sheep spring about more than usual. So also the proverbs:—
"When the ass begins to bray,
We surely shall have rain that day."
"When the donkey blows his horn,
'Tis time to house your hay and corn." 

**"All signs fail in a dry time."

Summer Born British White calves - Holding up Fairly Well in August 2011