Hi, I’m MLive Chief Meteorologist
Mark Torregrossa. We have lots of technology to forecast the weather, but
some of the old-time folklore sayings do a pretty good job too. I love some of
these folklore sayings and they have good scientific reasoning. Many of the more
famous sayings however are just no good. Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. This
has to be the most famous weather folklore in the Great Lakes region. It
goes: red sky at night sailor’s delight, red sky in the morning sailors take
warning. The theory is if the sky is red in the evening moisture and rain has
ended and off to your east. The opposite is thought to be true of morning red skies.
This folklore though is totally unreliable. There are many reasons why
the sky turns red. Water vapor and dust being the big two. So, if the sky is red
in the morning due to dust sailors won’t deal with storms. So, let’s
look at some of the good weather folklore, like when the night has a fever
it cries in the morning. When the night has a fever means the temperature is
rising over night. The crying brought on in the morning is obviously rain. It
works. The rising temperatures at night happened as a warm front moves through
and that warm front is usually accompanied by rain. Castles in the sky
rain and storms are nigh. The castles formed by the clouds are signs of
rapidly rising air. It’s this rising air that gets the thunderstorm process going.
Just think about the big thunder clouds you see on a summer afternoon. If you
watch them closely you can even see them build higher in the sky. That’s rising
air and that causes storms. These castles in the sky are the morning precursors to
afternoon storms. The clouds are called altocumulus castellanus, meaning high
puffy clouds that look like castles. Now some folklore weather talks about the
effects of weather conditions. Those with curly hair can probably
attest to this one: curls the kink and cords that bind signs
of rain and heavy wind. The moisture in the air before a storm makes curly hair
go wild. It also makes ropes used on sailboats tough to work with. Now,
it’s interesting that weather folklore varies around the country and the world.
These sayings developed after realizing what weather forms in certain conditions.
These folklore weather sayings are fun but when the weather gets intense and
dangerous in Michigan, stick with MLive and stay informed.