Weather vanes have been used for hundreds of years to predict the weather. Here's how it is done.
- Step 1: Watch for strong winds from the north or northeast in winter. These winds often precede stormy weather and in colder regions may be accompanied by hail or snow. Now venture out -- if you dare.
- FACT: The Farmer's Almanac was first published in 1818.
- Step 2: Know that when a cold mass from the north moves into a warm mass in the south, the cold air is pushed beneath the warm air. As the front passes, the wind changes direction. Watch your weather vane for the direction change.
- TIP: When one air mass meets another, the air in the two masses usually does not mix and a front occurs between the two masses, producing wind. Stormy weather often occurs along these weather fronts.
- Step 3: Acquaint yourself with weather proverbs for the part of the country where you live. These sayings may offer clues about how wind direction can be used in weather forecasting.
- Step 4: Be on the lookout for southerly winds. They often bring warm and humid weather. Winds from the south may carry gentle rains, although they can bring violent storms if they meet with a cold front.
- Step 5: Know that in colonial times many people relied on weather vanes to help them predict the weather. These observations often gave rise to pithy sayings about the weather such as "Wind from the North, do not go forth."