We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Some Famous Weather Proverbs?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Weather proverbs are an ancient part of human society; there are even a couple in the Bible which are still used today, although they are sometimes re-worked. Some weather proverbs are quite accurate, depending on where one is, while others appear to be a load of hogwash. When considering weather proverbs, it is important to remember that weather patterns move very differently in the Northern and Southern hemispheres, and that within each hemisphere, there is a great deal of variation. Regional weather proverbs tend to be more accurate, because they come from years of experience with the weather of a specific area.

Perhaps one of the most well known weather proverbs is “red sky at night, sailor's delight, red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.” According to meteorologists, a particularly red sunset or sunrise is caused by large amounts of particulate matter in the sky, which filter the rays of the sun before they reach the earth. The longer red wavelengths make it through, while shorter blue and green wavelengths do not, causing the sky to appear red. During periods of high pressure, particulates are trapped close to the earth; at sunset, they will make the sky turn red, and in the Northern hemisphere, where weather generally moves West to East, this suggests that fair weather is coming. If the sky is red at dawn, on the other hand, the high pressure system has passed, and the weather may turn foul. A related proverb is “rainbow in the morning gives you fair warning,” because it indicates rain and a low pressure system to the West.

The saying “clear moon, frost soon” is applicable to all regions of the Earth, because when the sky is clear, there is no insulating cloud cover to prevent frost, so during the winter, a clear moon can be a strong indicator of frost. “Halo around the moon, rain or snow soon” is a bit less reliable; the halo is caused by crystals in the sky, which may or may not develop into wet weather. You may also have heard weather proverbs about stars huddling together before poor weather; these proverbs reference the fact that when heavy cloud cover obscures much of the sky, it can look like the visible stars are clinging to each other.

A particularly colorful weather proverb is “mackerel scales and mare's tails make tall ships take in their sails.” This proverb references the appearance of the sky in advance of a major storm. The cirrus clouds which often drift in front of a low pressure system do look sort of like lumpy fish scales. Closer to home, many people believe that smoke curling downward is a sign of poor weather, and they are right, as it indicates a low pressure system.

You don't have to look to the skies for weather proverbs. Many regions of the world have some variation of this proverb: “seagull, seagull, sit on the sand; when you're on shore, poor weather's at hand.” As biologists are well aware, many birds roost in advance of a storm to ensure that they stay safe and sound, so when seagulls hunch on the shore, it can be a sign of an incoming storm.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Language & Humanities researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By rs4life — On May 25, 2011

I inherited a wealth of old weather proverbs and sayings from my father, who heard them all from his father, a survivor of the dust bowl. My favorite is, “When the spider builds her silky web, expect the sun above your head.”

I’m not sure where this originates but it’s true that spiders don’t build webs when the weather is going to turn poor.

By Andrade — On May 24, 2011

Growing up in the farm country of Wisconsin, we heard every old weather saying ever spoken. My granddad, a dairy farmer, was fond of saying, “When the cows start to huddle, expect a puddle.” That one has a basis in truth, too. Cows somehow sense the change in the air pressure before a storm and will cluster together under trees. Some say that’s so they don’t get struck by lightning (which happens to cows more often than people realize).

My grandmother had her own favorite, “Bees and smart women never get caught in the rain.” I don’t know if there’s any truth to that or not, but I’ve never seen a bee in the rain.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.