How about that weather!

Ruth Griffiths

Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it! All joking aside, weather is one of our favourite topics of conversation.

What would we talk about if the weather was the same every day?

We are unable to control the weather or even predict it with any great accuracy. Despite that, or perhaps because of that, weather is often a  great conversation starter.

Conversations about the weather are often peppered with aphorisms. For example, on a recent sunny, dry April morning, someone suggested we weren’t done with winter yet, citing the saying,”Three snows after the crows.” Three days later we awoke to a blanket of thick wet white stuff.

Another oft quote piece of folklore is, “Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning; red sky at night, sailor’s delight.”

On the Prairies, the predominant wind is from the west. A red sunrise can indicate a high pressure system (good weather) has already passed, indicating that a storm system (low-pressure) may be moving in from the west. The opposite is true of “red sky at night”, thus the “delight.”

The red sky at dawn or dusk is caused by sunlight reflecting off the underside of clouds. Dust, smoke or moisture in the air can affect the colour of the light from the sun at the horizon, for example scattering the blue light and allowing the red light to predominate. If the morning sky is fiery red, it can indicate there is high water content in the atmosphere and precipitation is coming soon.

Some people say, “If there is a halo around the moon, the rain will come soon.” For a halo to appear around the moon there needs to be high cirrus cloud which are made up of ice crystals. These icy clouds reflect the light of the moon,

allowing us to see a halo of light around the moon.  The high moisture content may indicate that rain is on its way. In winter, we can sometimes see a halo around the sun, also indicating icy particles in the upper atmosphere. Weather folklore illustrates our universal delight in discussing the weather. Sometimes our weather folklore is backed up by science and sometimes it just gives us something to talk about. So if you didn’t like our spring blizzard, blame it on the crows.