Learning Your Own Weather Predicting Skills

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eDJ_

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December 21, 2022 a major winter storm is brewing bringing rain & snow followed by frigid air. We know about this because of weather forecast we receive electronically. If you were living in a remote area and your power supply was depleted, would you be able to realize the storm is coming with your knowledge of forecasting the weather ? Many of our forefathers could as their lives depended on it.

Horse_Buggy.jpg


As late as 100 years ago many of our forefathers lived and worked while relying on their own
skill to predict the weather. Their ability was based on their own knowledge of natural
signals found in the environment and their senses to observe the cloud types and wind
direction most of the time. People today would be amazed at what they had learned to look for
as clues. But so often their lives and livelihood depended on this ability. Today we are
fortunate enough to have an abundance of electronic media and devices that we can rely on to
keep us informed.....but what if we were without it ? Would we know what to do in order to
survive. Our climate has been changing in recent years and has become more volatile where the
forecast from larger cities may not be accurate for the area we are in. So it may be worth
picking up some of the old skills.

The sky is a great resource for predicting forthcoming weather conditions. There are numerous
clues in both the daytime as well as the night sky. Different cloud structures will provide
insights into the coming weather along with the direction of the wind. Items on the ground
can indicate wind speed and direction with surprising accuracy. With some basic study of these things one can make a fairly accurate forecast. Safety in the outdoors should be a primary
consideration with coming weather conditions high on the list.

Knowledge of weather terms and what they can mean to you are something you should be familiar with also.

Weather Terminology

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This link will describe the basic clouds you need to observe to gain clues of weather to come.

Using Clouds to predict the weather

A more advanced Cloud study

Next to reading the clouds for clues is taking notice of the wind direction and speed. This can be done
without the aid of instruments or gauges. If you are up in the morning at sunrise you will immediately know
which way East is. Facing the sunrise your left side will be facing North. Then South will be to your right side and West to your back.
In this way you can be your own compass. Just reverse this in the afternoon or at sunset. You could place a large stone or chunk of wood on the ground facing North, and another marker of some kind to point to East. (pace them out of the way so they won't be disturbed) A very small item in the center where a compass needle would be mounted will complete this layout.

As for the gauging of the speed of the wind "The Beaufort Scale" will allow you to observe signals from your environment to determine it.


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If you have a note pad and pencil, you can log information you have gathered from the cloud formations and wind speed a couple times a day each day and have some idea of what to expect. Perhaps 80% accuracy.

So what about temperature ? If it winter where you are you should know it will be cold already and prepare for heating and have warm clothing laid by. If it is in the nicer months of the year and you can hear crickets chirping an old technique for predicting the temperature (in Fahrenheit) is to count the number of chirps you hear in 15 seconds and add 40 to that number of chirps may add further assurance to your forecast. This is said to give a fairly accurate prediction of the temperature the next day.

So if the clouds and wind direction/speed suggest rain may be coming, listening to the crickets for a low number of chirps in the 15 second time frame. This may determine if a cooling trend may be setting in which would help to assure the accuracy of your prediction. This cross referencing method of several clues is what our ancestors relied on.

There will be more on this subject in following post.
 
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Thank you Carla for bringing this to our attention. So you would have to find a place where the crickets are chirping during the daytime then.
But crickets are mostly nocturnal so it would seem that they may only tell early evening till early morning temperatures. Some times crickets can be found chirping in the daylight hours but they may be in caves or more dense woodland areas. Again much of this is folk lore that has existed for a long time.

I'll get into more of these Folk Lore "weather clues" in following post.
Thanks for posting those links.
 
I live in rural Nebraska and became a trained weather spotter. They focus on thunderstorms and tornadoes, but you do learn alot about the weather. Winter storms are very hard to predict because the high/low presures are impacted by the tempatures. In the summer, storms travel a lot faster so the storms impact and move on quicker. In the winter, that same storm will move slower and cause issues for 24-48 hours.
 
Interesting Tony. :) When you were in training, did you ever meet anyone who spoke of predicting the weather by reading the clouds ?
I'm using the first post just as a way to illustrate how our forefathers had to rely on themselves and folk lore information available to them back then to survive. Following post will begin to address using affordable instruments & gauges one can carry in their rig to predict future trends in the weather. But for now I want to post some more of the "old school" classic weather wisdom's .
 
Following post will begin to address using affordable instruments & gauges one can carry in their rig to predict future trends in the weather. But for now I want to post some more of the "old school" classic weather wisdom's .
I learned about the crickets in the '70's in a class called Camp Craft. It was an elective in college. We camped out in the woods and tested the cricket thing. We also had to make anemometers and cook a meat and veggie meal over a campfire. Can't remember much else. This is the same type of anemometer we made:

https://www.wikihow.com/Make-an-Anemometer
And...

https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/build_an_anemometer.pdf
anemometer.png
 
Interesting Tony. :) When you were in training, did you ever meet anyone who spoke of predicting the weather by reading the clouds ?
I'm using the first post just as a way to illustrate how our forefathers had to rely on themselves and folk lore information available to them back then to survive. Following post will begin to address using affordable instruments & gauges one can carry in their rig to predict future trends in the weather. But for now I want to post some more of the "old school" classic weather wisdom's .

Yes they did. Not only do I spot for the county, I am also a storm chaser. I can look at a cloud formation and decide if those clouds would become a thunderstorm or just drop some rain.
 
In my part of the Ohio Valley we are about to be hit by this storm. and I fear the internet may go down if not the power. This should be done by 1 pm Saturday and decent weather return. If I can post I will.

My barometer has dropped from 30.7 to 29.6 in 7 hours with winds from the south/southwest. Humidity in the house from 55 to 42. Quite foggy outside right now. Frigid cold windy weather and snow coming in tonight. Glad I'm not living in my rig right now as it isn't really set up for this kind of blast.
 
Not only do I spot for the county, I am also a storm chaser. I can look at a cloud formation and decide if those clouds would become a thunderstorm or just drop some rain.
very cool. seen alot of shows on tv with storm chasers. can get very dicey :) but I can see the draw to it. I am a 'big storm lover' but never went that far!

--------also guys the farmer's almanac. Since we were farmers back int he day we would always buy one every year, packed full of 'old time' tricks/tips info. Loved reading that thing. Closed the farm and never bought another almanac after that.

we are heading into Winter Storm Elliott right now. Winds outside are insanity. Big gusts. Not gonna be a fun ride but will get thru as we all do on what comes our way.
 
Glad I'm not living in my rig right now as it isn't really set up for this kind of blast.
Stay safe, people! This storm is scary.

If you don't have access to good, reliable heat, make sure you know where you can get help if you need it, and err on the side of asking for that help too soon rather than too late.

^^That might be stating the obvious, but I get a bit dull-witted and slow-moving in the cold, and I'm guessing I'm not the only one. Have a plan in place before you need it. If God forbid you do need it, you will want it to be as idiot-proof as possible.

Feeling lucky not to be in the worst part of this, and sending warm wishes to everyone who is!
 
- 44º wind chill. da beagle and I will not be going for very long walks today.

Agree with Morgana: if you cannot keep your rig warm you need to find alternate shelter.
 
agree with posts here, warmth is total survival and do as needed!!!
 
- 33º WC. Well I was wrong, da beagle kept bugging me to go for a walk. So we bundled up and went for a 1 miler. Stinker refuses to wear his booties but we didn't have any 3 legged pogo sticking and his nose was active until home was sighted again.

Stay warm and stay hydrated. Frostbite happens faster with thick blood.
 
Stinker refuses to wear his booties but we didn't have any 3 legged pogo sticking and his nose was active until home was sighted again.
It was minus 37 WC here last night (still minus 30 wc) and my dog refused to go outside. My daughter thinks he needs booties. Can you recommend a brand? Or a type? I have never purchased dog booties.

Edit: she is a 14 pound shih tzu–poodle mix.
 
I'm probably not the right person to ask since I am having poor luck with mine. A couple of ideas:
if you know someone who has hunting dogs; they often use booties to protect their dogs feet. I'm going to talk to my BIL over Christmas (he has a bird dog that uses booties).​
pet groomer, pet walker, vet, .....​
pet store worker might have knowledge and they should be able to help with fitting. And a correct fit is important.​

Musher's wax is another possibility, although I haven't tried it (yet).
 
I'm probably not the right person to ask since I am having poor luck with mine. A couple of ideas:
if you know someone who has hunting dogs; they often use booties to protect their dogs feet. I'm going to talk to my BIL over Christmas (he has a bird dog that uses booties).​
pet groomer, pet walker, vet, .....​
pet store worker might have knowledge and they should be able to help with fitting. And a correct fit is important.​

Musher's wax is another possibility, although I haven't tried it (yet).
Thank you:)
 
My internet is back up but very slow right now.

Since Thursday evening it has been quite windy and the temps have stayed steady at 0 f. The temperature started to rise this morning and is now about 10 f. With the wind the WC has been -44 f.

Although I've seen it colder where the temp was -20 with calm wind, I'd fear the WC @ -44 more so. One of the things I learned about years ago for personal safety when the temps get that low (or you suspect that they are) is to press your lips together gently and gently blow air thru them. If you hear a whistle....then it is unsafe to be outdoors. Get yourself & pets (even livestock) into shelter. The last time it was that cold outdoors I stepped outside the house and tried it and it works. I tried it the other night with the temp being at 0 but there is no whistle.

Knowing simple tricks like this if you are on the road may save your life. In Ohio there has been a 50 car pileup and 4 have been counted dead already. Imagine you left the house to run down to the store for a bottle of milk and loaf of bread just wearing sneakers, pajamas, and an overcoat and was involved in a wreck ? Ignoring weather conditions and warnings could be the end of you.

NBC News 50 car pileup in Ohio
 
A friend said years ago: prepare for trouble, and probably nothing will happen. Assume that nothing will happen, and it will. Mother Nature is reported to have a wicked sense of humor.
 
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