How to predict the weather



How to predict the weather without a forecast

1. WATCH THE WILDLIFE
Animals' senses are more in tune with natural weather indicators than ours, so we can learn a lot by observing their behaviour. Before rain, ants will build their hills with steeper sides, turtles will seek higher ground and can often be spotted on roads, and seagulls will avoid flying and instead take shelter on the coast. In the lead up to a storm, cows will often congregate and, if thunder is brewing, they may even lie down. Another clue to look for is low-flying birds; it is believed they fly lower before a storm to allow them to alleviate a discomfort in their inner ears when air pressure falls rapidly.

2. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Approaching storms can be felt in the human body. A good barometer is your hair; when your hair is particularly frizzy humidity levels are likely to be high. This occurs before heavy rain so your bad-hair day may be a good reason not to venture too far from shelter. For the seasoned explorers, many arthritis sufferers complain of heightened joint pain as air pressure drops.

3. HEED SMOKE SIGNALS
Weather stories are told in campfire smoke. During clear weather smoke should rise steadily upwards. Prior to rain, when air-pressure is low, smoke from your campfire will swirl about and eventually descend.

4. GAZE AT THE MOON
A low-pressure change (indicating a possible shower) will clear dust from the atmosphere so the moon appears bright and sharply focused. Another presage of rain is the appearance of a halo or ring around the moon. This occurs when moonlight shines through cirrus cloud (high, thin, wispy clouds). Cirrus clouds signal a weather change in the near future: they generally precede a warm front which produces low pressure and results in a storm. If a ring is visible around the moon it's fair to assume that it'll rain within the next few days.

5. BREATHE DEEPLY
Take time to stop and smell the flowers; moisture in the air before rain will strengthen the natural smells around you. You may also whiff the odour of compost before a storm. This is because plants excrete their waste during a low-pressure change that leads to rain.


These tips may provide the warning you need to set up camp before the weather closes in, but prediciting it without a barometer involves guesswork and is by no means foolproof. With practise your instincts will sharpen.

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