Monday, October 19, 2009

Red Sky

This is a sunset from a 2008 camping trip over on the Eastern Shore looking out towards the bay. The sky and that lone pine tree put on quite a performance each evening, except for that one night when horizontal rain and hurricane-force winds forced us to remain inside the camper crying praying for survival.

But this is not a story about a disastrous family camping trip, it's a brief talk about forecasting the weather.

With its pinkish hue, the sky above reminds me of the saying:

Red sky at night,
Sailor's delight;
Red sky at morning,
Sailor's take warning.

Although today we have radar technology providing anybody's best guess our 7-day forecasts, not long ago people relied on Nature's cues to anticipate weather changes. Some still do, especially around here.

Below is some background on the red sky phenomenon.


"Red Sky at Night"
Practical origins for this English nursery rhyme are based on weather predictions and how a red sky at night would indicate fair weather on the following day. In England the words refer to a shepherd who would say that a red sky in the morning was suggesting inclement weather to follow. In America the words relate to a sailor. It should be remembered that there were no weather forecasts, as such, in days gone by and one had to make one's own weather predictions. Those with the most knowledge and experience such as Sailors and Shepherds, whose lives were dependant on the weather, were fully conversant with changing weather patterns indicated by a "Red Sky at night".

As I write this, on day 4 thousand of a never-ending nor'easter, the sky is neither red, nor white, nor blue, nor pink. It's gray, gray, gray, with a hint of just shoot me now because we're never going to see the sun again.

I'm neither a sailor nor a shepherd, but based on what I see out the window today--high tides and gray skies--I'm predicting yet another day of cold, dreary rain.

And on that note, Happy Monday!

p.s. Many people in Mathews still take their cues from Nature when discussing the forecast. Some in my family read the Farmers' Almanac religiously. I gave up on believing any sort of official weather forecasts long ago and usually just get up, take note of the temperature when I go out to feed the cats, glance at the sky once the sun comes up and take it from there.

This also describes my outlook on life, by the way. No sense trying to predict it, just take it as it comes.


Grandma J said...

What a beautiful sunset! I read the weather forcast faithfully, and it's usually wrong. A weatherman,or meteorologist can be wrong all the time and never get fired. Now, my bones forecast the weather for me.

Annie said...

Yes, my daughter is complaining about the weather too...!

Guess what, (I can't wait till 3 ring circus day to tell you).

(I'm coming back...for Christmas etc just booked)!! So excited!

Daryl said...

So true .. the weather people are right 50% of the time; my dad always said that .. no, he didnt... I made that up, I dont remember who said it or even if it was 'always'BUT it is true!

Fabulous sky!

Caution Flag said...

Our sunsets and sunrises have been spectacularly red and our weather has been lovely. Now I'm deeply rattled because the rhyme is no longer reliable. How will I ever know what's coming our way?

Anonymous said...

I always say that the weather forcasters can't forcast a snowstorm after even after it hits ;-)
So why do I still faithfully look at the weather reports? Habit I guess. Happy Monday everyone.

Living on the Spit said...

I wonder if we'll get another snow day this year where there is no snow?

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

We always said that rhyme, too, growing up. I thought it was a farm thing... of course we didn't do a lot of sailing on the farm.

Mental P Mama said...

Gorgeous shot;) It never rained in C'ville...isn't that weird? I hope it is all red skies at night during Oysterfest;)

Bethie said...

Beautiful! I have stumbled on your blog and look forward to exploring it. I live in Yorktown!

Breezeway said...

I too always think of that rhyme when I see red skies, esp in the morning. And boy was it right last Thursday morning at the beginning of the four delightful days of rain!

Country Girl said...

The sun came out today here in Maryland. Maybe it's heading your way. I was so sick of the just shoot me now crap!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

GJ-A groundhog has as good a shot of predicting the weather as the weather forecasters around here. With all due apologies to anyone in the weather forecasting business, I just call it as I see it.

Annie-YAY! Maybe this time we can actually meet. Last time it was so close. Maybe we need to talk to the northern contingent about a New York Mid-Winter Blog Fest....I already like the sounds of this and I just made it up.

Daryl-I think 50% is generous. I'd give them 5%. The groundhog has a 50% chance of getting it right, and the red sky has about a 95% chance.

CF-I don't have an answer for you but that shouldn't be surprising.

msseabreeze-Exactly. These days there's no sense in ever hoping for a snow storm. WE just can't attract a good snow storm any more. Remember in high school the one that was over our heads? We had to tunnel to get out the back door. Never again will we see that.

LOTS-Those are the best - the "we think it's gonna snow so let's shut everything down except Chesapeake Bay Woman's work so we can make her feel extra miserable driving in today." You should see the impact a snow prediction has on the DC area. No bread, milk or toilet paper for miles around, they clean out the stores. They sure do spend a lot of time in the restroom drinking milk up there.

Meg-See, I didn't know it was a farm thing-and we did do farming around here. It's a pretty accurate predictor, I think.

MPM-That is weird - we definitely had rain though not the entire four days. Can't wait for the oyster festival - BHE is calling a planning meeting soon - maybe even this weekend.

Bethie-Well, hello. You never know what you're going to stumble upon around here, but please don't let it scare you away. I pass through Yorktown on my way to work. Cross the Coleman and hop on the parkway. Looking forward to hearing more from you. Just be forewarned, we're a wise cracking bunch here, but we have a good time.

Breezeway-These were the tryingest (it's a word) four days of recent history as far as the weather goes. And yes - that was an old picture of your shoreline that I put up yesterday. I had pre-loaded it a long time ago and just never posted/published it, although I did put up a bunch of others around the time this was taken. If it's OK with you, I will want to head over there when it starts to get cold. The winter mornings from your beach are spectacular. I haven't been over there at all this summer -was probably afraid the summer influx of neighbors would think I was trespassing. And we all know I do not do that....

County Girl - YES. We saw sun today, I didn't recognize it at first, took me a while to adjust. Let's hope we never have another four consecutive days of that stuff again.

Happy Monday. We survived.

Annie said...

Aha..a midwinter NY blogfest...sounds pretty good to me!

maria from nj said...

We saw the sun in Jersey and a clear blue sky to die for. Spent half of the day looking up. Which explains a few fender-benders with my scooter!

That is one beautiful picture. You should consider publishing a calendar. On one of the online services which makes them to order. No upfront expense.

maria from nj said...

BTW, there is a meteorologist conference taking place in VA as we speak (hmm read?). Maybe that's a good place to raid for answers! I have a co-worker there and he has orders to bring back a better winter forecast than the ones I've heard!!

foolery said...

If we get a red sunrise we just laugh and laugh and laugh, because we aren't gettin' NUTHIN' in the way of rain.

Except for last Tuesday, when we got 2".

That song about rain in California is exactly right. Mostly.