July at last. Finally in the water. Never more than this year do we wish to sail: in particular, it is the second half of the month that offers the best conditions. In addition to the temperature, the weather tends to be stable. A few isolated thunderstorms happen, but we are able to appreciate them as well. Fortifying this idealization of the month of July are reliable proverbs handed down from antiquity such as ‘In July go naked’ or ‘When the sun is in the lion it’s hot bugger’.
HOW PROVERBS ABOUT THE WEATHER CAN HELP US
But are we sure that weather proverbs are reliable? Very often they are directly reflected in reality because they are confirmed by millennia of navigation and observation. In fact it happens that these can sometimes ‘topple’. Today we are used to so much technology, in all areas, that we have become ‘disconnected’ from nature. In the past, however, our older generations, were in close contact with natural phenomena. Many things depended on the weather. There was a time when people scanned the horizon, studied the premonitory signs of the changing weather.
So proverbs are clues that we can use today to guess what the weather will be like. There is no escaping having a good weather partner, however, but it is always nice to be able to build a personal weather culture. If proverb comes from the Latin proverbium, a short sentence of popular origin that contains a lesson drawn from experience; what can we learn?
‘Sheepish skies, pouring rain’. This is probably the proverb we have heard used most on the docks.
It represents reality and stands for the fact that when the sky begins to be covered with lots of little white clouds (sheep) the weather starts to get worse. Have you ever wondered what these little clouds are? The sheep are often cirrocumulus or altocumulus. These are not very thick clouds representing the front end of a disturbance.
By running into them we can expect the weather to worsen within a few hours. They may anticipate weak rain for a short period but also some showers or thunderstorms.
Instead, we may be disappointed to know that ‘Red Evening Weather Hopeful’ in truth can be as truthful as false and mislead us. If red refers to the clouds present at that time then the proverb is not reliable. In our latitudes, disturbances come from west to east, so if we encounter cloudiness in the west it could indicate the vanguard of these disturbances, thus the arrival of bad weather.
If looking westward at sunset, the color red was referring to a cloud-free sky then we can consider the proverb definitely true. Good weather literacy also helps to understand which proverb is relevant today. The more we increase our knowledge of weather, the more we understand why it is important to rely on professionals. Sailing safely and comfortably is the basis for every sea outing.
Riccardo Ravagnan (Meteomed’s Meteo Forecast & Services Manager)
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