Ways to Predict the Weather

by Watching Nature in Your Backyard

They typically fly low during stormy weather and higher in pleasant weather. Birds may even get quiet and stop flying altogether when a storm is approaching. Ornithology experts believe this is because the birds can sense a change in barometric air pressure.

Woolly Bear Caterpillar

The legend claims that the more brown they have on their bodies, the milder the winter will be. However, this idea has been debunked by scientists. The colors are related to the insect’s age, species, and diet.


Science backs up the fact that when frogs croak loudly, it’s about to rain. Experts explain that frogs get louder and more energetic with their noise when they are about to mate. Because they lay their eggs in bodies of freshwater, they are more likely to reproduce after a rainstorm.

The “cricket thermometer” was developed in the 1800s by scientist Amos Dolbear, who discovered the connection between the ambient temperature and the rate at which crickets chirp. Count the number of chirps in 14 seconds; then add 40 to get the temperature in Fahrenheit.


The old adage goes, “When they swarm, expect a day that’s warm.” But if you see them searching for shelter, then cold weather is approaching. As cold-blooded creatures, ladybugs hibernate in groups to stay warm, so you may also see them clumping together in sunny areas, under logs, or in sheds and garages.

If you notice these pollinators disappearing from flower beds, then you can expect a long, cold winter on the horizon. This is also the case if bees build their nests in protected areas like inside a shed or barn. They react to cold weather by clustering together for warmth.


While there is no scientific evidence to back this up, it is believed that how these animals act can predict the weather. Some theories include: Very bushy tails in autumn mean a cold winter; if squirrels stash nuts high in trees, then snow will be deep.

The Sky

If red tones are present in the morning, the sun is illuminating water vapor from high clouds moving in from the west, indicating that a storm is approaching. But a red sky in the evening shows that the weather has improved in the west, and no storms are on the horizon.

A ring of light around the moon—known as a lunar corona—predicts a winter storm is coming. This ring is created when the moon’s light refracts and reflects through water droplets and ice crystals in the air, creating a halo.

It’s believed that, “If leaves fall early, winter will be mild. If leaves fall late, then winter will be wild.”  Flowers also help predict the weather with their petals. Wide-open flowers are a sign of pleasant weather, but closed petals mean rain or other bad weather is coming. This phenomenon is called nyctinasty.


This one is simple. If there is dew on the grass at sunrise, then clear weather is expected for several hours. However, if the grass is dry, then rain is probably on its way.


When the air is warm and dry, pinecones open their scales to let the seeds out, as they’ll have a better chance of landing on fertile soil. On the other hand, when the air is cold or damp, they close up to protect the seeds. So, if a pinecone’s scales are open, expect calm, dry weather.

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