Weather Omens, Superstitions and Sayings

Seascape with cloudsPeople have been searching for ways to predict the weather for thousands of years. Over time many sayings about the weather have become part of our tradition… some of them even rhyme! While some¬† have, no doubt, been forgotten, we all know (and have probably said) at least a few – April showers bring May flowers, for example, is very well known. Some sayings could be rationalized scientifically, while others are just plain weird. They are listed below, separated by spaces.

Weather Superstitions

A mackerel-colored sky foretells rain.

Streaks of sunlight coming through clouds mean that rain is on the way. The sun is “pulling up moisture”.

When smoke from a chimney falls, it’s going to storm.

Whitecaps on a pond or river foretell of rain.

Froth along the edge of streams means rain.

A halo around the moon brings rain.

Early mist foretells a day of fine weather.

Snow that lingers is waiting for more snow.

Many sparks in the fire, or an easy-burning fire in your fireplace means cold weather.

Fog in winter always tells of cold and wind.

A large number of hawberries means a hard winter is coming..

Clocks and watches tick louder before mild weather.

“Cobwebs” on the grass are a sign of good weather.

Rain falling while the sun shines is a good chance it will rain the next day.

Blow out a burning candle. If the wick continues to smolder for a long time, bad weather is coming. If it goes out quickly, the weather will be fair.

Weather Superstitions Concerning Dates & Times:

The first Tuesday after a new moon tells the weather for that quarter.

A fair sunset on Friday night means rain before Monday.

Also, if it storms on a Friday, it will storm again before Monday.

The sun shines at some point on every Saturday of the year, except one.

A warm October means a cold February.

If March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb, and vice versa.

It rains often on July 4th.

A wet September foretells of a coming drought.

If it rains on Easter Day, it will rain for 7 days afterward.

A clear Christmas makes a full graveyard.

A warm winter is followed by a cool summer.

Animals and Birds:

If a cat washes over her ear, it is a sign of fine weather.

Also, if a cat scratches the leg of your table, it’s going to rain.

If a cat sneezes, it’s going to rain.

An old cat running and playing means windy weather is ahead.

If a cat lies in the sun in February, she will creep under the grate in March.

If you see sparks when you rub a cat’s fur the wrong way, cold weather is coming.

When a dog or cat eats grass, rain is approaching.

When you see many snails in the evening, it will rain during the night.

When crickets chirp louder than usual, it will rain.

A cricket chirping in the house means cold weather is coming.

When cattle lie down first thing in the morning, rain is coming.

The frost is gone once you hear the first frogs of the spring.

After you kill a snake, hanging it in a tree will bring rain. Burying it will bring sunny days.

When the swallows fly low to the ground, rain is on the way.

When a guinea or peacock calls, rain is coming.

When you see a lot of rooks flying in a circle, it’s going to rain.

When robins sing high in the tree, the weather will be nice. When they sing low in the tree, it will rain.

Sea gulls on land bring rain.

When a rooster flies onto the gate and crows, rain is on the way.

When a rooster crows at 9 p.m., the weather will change.

If the chickens come out during a rain, it will be a long, soaking storm.

 Weather Poems & Sayings

A common saying was that, “Rain falling while the sun is shining means the devil is beating his wife.” (Some qualified that by adding “with a codfish” at the end)

When it rains with the wind in the east,
It will rain for twenty-four hours, at least.

Rain before seven, Clear before eleven.


Sun at seven, Rain at eleven.

When the rain’s in the south, the wind’s in its mouth.

A very commonly known saying is:

Red in the morning, Sailors take warning;
Red at night, Sailors delight.

Alternatively, there is a very similar, though less-known saying about rainbows:

Rainbow in the morning, Sailors take warning;
Rainbow at night, Sailors delight;
Rainbow at noon, Rain very soon.

Other sayings:

Fog on the hills, more water for the mills.

Between twelve and two,
You can tell what the day will do.

An evening red and a morning gray
Will set the traveler on his way.
But an evening gray and a morning red
Will pour down rain on the traveler’s head.

Rain on Good Friday and Easter Day, brings lots of grass but little hay.

A sunshiny shower Won’t last half an hour.

When the fog goes up the mountain hoppin’,
Then the rain comes down the mountain droppin’.

If it rains before seven, it will quit by eleven.

(If, however, fog descends down the mountain, the weather will soon clear.)

The next two deal with cloud shapes:

A mackerel sky won’t leave the ground dry.

Mackerel scales and mares’ tails
Make lofty ships to carry low sails.

A cold, wet May, A barn full of hay.

When the wind is in the east,
The sap will run the least.
When the wind is in the west,
Then the sap will run the best.

When the oak comes before the ash, summer will be dry and mash.

This poem concerns Candlemas Day (Groundhog Day):

As far as the sun shines in on Candlemas Day,
So far the snow blows in before May Day.
If Candlemas day be fair and bright,
Winter will take another flight;
If chance to fall a shower of rain,
Winter will not come again.

If Candlemas Day be bright and clear,
Be sure you will have two winters that year.