Magazine article Geographical

Weather Lore: True or False? Weatherwatch with BBC Weather Forecaster Helen Willetts

Magazine article Geographical

Weather Lore: True or False? Weatherwatch with BBC Weather Forecaster Helen Willetts

Article excerpt

What is weather lore?

Weather lore is essentially the collection of sayings from the British countryside that were traditionally used days as a weather forecast by those dependant on the land and sea for their living.

Surely much of this 'wisdom' is just nonsense

Yes, some of these sayings are just that, but others are based on centuries of observation and do have a grain of truth, especially when it comes to predicting the weather for the following few hours.

Are they as good as a real forecast?

Keen weather watchers can observe changes in the sky and, making use of various forms of weather lore, come up with some fairly accurate predictions. The phrase 'rain before seven, fine before 11' will usually hold true--four hours or more of continuous rain does occasionally occur in the UK, when a weather front slows down, but rainy periods are usually shorter. The line 'mackerel sky, ain't long dry," refers to an increase in upper-level cloud, which is often a sign that a weather front that will bring rain is approaching.

What about longer-term predictions, such as the St Swithin's Day lore?

St Swithin's Day lore claims that if it rains at a certain place on St Swithin's day (15 July), it will rain there on the next 40 days. …

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