Cirrus clouds (also known as Mare's Tails) can indicate rain is on its way.
Cirrus clouds (also known as Mare's Tails) can indicate rain is on its way. MaxPixel's contributors

How accurate are those folklore weather predictions?

ACCORDING to folklore, you can determine future weather events by the colour of the sky, the shape of the clouds or watching the behaviour of animals.

While modern technology puts weather information at our fingertips, nature gives us all the early warning we need that inclement weather is on its way.

How do nature's early warning signs measure up against the more formal forecasts?

A wise old farmer once told me that mare's tails in the sky mean rain in three days.

Mare's tails are those really high, wispy cirrus clouds that look like the streaming tail of a Mustang at full gallop. Cirrus clouds are often at the leading edge of a frontal system.

I saw mare's tails in the sky yesterday, so if folklore is to be believed, we'll see rain on Wednesday.

My dad always quotes this one: "Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky in morning, sailor's warning.”

Sunsets mean the air to the west is clear enough for the sun's light to have passed through it.

A red sky in the morning can be caused by the dawn light bouncing off cirrus ice crystals in the upper atmosphere.

The moon also plays a part in predicting future weather events: "If there is a halo round the sun or moon, then we can all expect rain quite soon.”

The halo around a bright object is caused by refraction of the light through the ice crystals of high cirrus clouds.

If you want to make your own rain prediction advice, this one is for you: "A piece of seaweed or string hung up will become damp before it rains.”

Seaweed and string absorb atmospheric humidity - the air becomes humid before it rains ... or dew.

Your own body can also help predict rain is on its way. Aching bones, frizzy hair are all signs rain is on its way.

My hair was most definitely doing its own thing this morning ... so beware.

Animals are constantly giving us subtle hints. Ants climbing, cows lying down and frogs croaking are all good indicators. As are black cockatoos and kookaburras laughing in the middle of the day.

How they know, I don't know, but they apparently pay attention and can sense a drop in air pressure. Frogs sense the fall in barometric pressure 24 hours before rain arrives.

I've noticed all those things over the past few days.

Swirling smoke is also an indicator. If rain is on the way then the low pressure should keep the smoke low and swirly rather than a steady rise when the weather is clear. The smoke from my chimney was low and swirly this morning, a good sign for those wanting rain.

So, with nature indicating it's going to rain on Wednesday, what do the official weather boffins say?

Well, they all agree. There's an 80 per cent chance of rain on Wednesday according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

BoM predicts possible showers tomorrow, chances increasing to 80 per cent on Wednesday and easing Thursday, for a mostly sunny day Friday before becoming showery again over the weekend.

Online weather forecasts by eldersweather.com.au and North Coast Storm Catchers concur.

North Coast Storm Chasers' Antonio Parancin said rain was on its way, but still a little early to predict where the heaviest falls may be.

"As it stands the average of all models is going for moderate falls inland with heavy falls on the coast.”



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