Believe it or not, people were actually able to predict the weather before we had satellites to look down on moving weather patterns, and iPhones to get severe weather alerts. There was a time where farmers were the best meteorologists and grandpa was who you asked about the weather later today, not the guy on TV.
These people of a time forgotten didn’t have super powers, and they didn’t go to school to predict the weather. Instead, they paid attention to the world around them and understood that most things in the world are connected, and weather being such a large factor, that those connected things tend to show what the coming weather will be.
The tricks these people used are still as useful today as they ever were, and you can learn them without too much effort. In a world without Internet and television, you’re the only person you’ll be able to rely on to know if the weather will be good, or if you need to find shelter. Learn these skills now while you still can, and be prepared for when things go bad.
Learn to Use a Barometer
A skill that’s widely lost today is the ability to read a barometer. These amazing tools show you the atmospheric pressure where you are, which is directly related to the coming weather.
Barometers have been perfected over time and most now don’t even have any liquid in them, but instead are aneroid, meaning they contain zero liquid. These must be calibrated using a knob on the back to your local weather. Just head over to Weather.gov and find your local weather. Here, you should see your local barometric pressure. Adjust your barometer to match this, and you’re all set.
Check this guide out for all the details on reading a barometer and what the information on it actually means.
Red sky at night, sailor’s delight;
Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning
I grew up with the phrase and today I still think of it when I see a bright red sky. While this seems like rhymey nonsense, there is actually a lot of truth to this.
In the Northern Hemisphere weather mostly moves from west to east, so a red sun at sunset means the sun is being seen through a high concentration of dust particles. This indicates high pressure in the west, signaling good weather to come.
If, on the other hand the sun is red when rising, it means the good weather has already passed and the pressure is changing. This can signal a storm moving in. The deeper the red is in the morning, the more moisture there is in the air, which means the more storm you can expect.
Smell the Weather
This is one of those foretelling methods that you know, but you’re probably unaware of. You’ve heard the saying before “it smells like rain,” but what does that actually mean? For starters, wind direction usually changes before a storm, so you may smell things you normally don’t. Also, the sweet smell of ozone can often be smelled as the pressure changes and moves it along. Moisture in the air also helps carry smells along, making them seem more pungent.
Speaking of pungent, swamps and marshes normally have their smells held close to the ground with air pressure, but when pressure changes, these smells can be released. In other words, if it smells like swamp, it’s probably gonna rain.
We just mentioned the wind’s propensity for changing direction before a storm, and while this can give you different scents, it’s also great for having a visual indicator, too.
Leaves generally aim their tops at the wind to protect their undersides and collect sunlight. When the wind quickly changes leaves are caught off guard and show their lighter undersides. Seeing this is a strong indicator that a storm is coming, and soon.
The Smoke Test
Here’s a great one for the next time you’re camping. Using the smoke from a campfire or chimney, watch what it does when it raises into the sky.
If the smoke rises in a pillar into the unknown, then the weather will most likely be pretty steady and fine. If however the smoke goes up then seems to hit turbulence, that probably means a storm is coming
While you’re sitting around that campfire take a look at the bubbles on the top of your coffee cup. If they move quickly to the edge of the cup, good weather is coming. If however they stay in the center, you should prepare for some bad weather coming in.
This little trick is possible thanks to air pressure. Higher pressure actually makes the bubbles go to the edges of the cup, while low pressure allows them to stay in place.
Read more about Weather Prediction in a World Without Power