There is a vast wealth of Weather Lore throughout the regions of the UK and the World of which this page lists just a few. I hope readers find them interesting, illuminating, an educational resource and quite possibly a useful alternative to official weather resources!
If you know of any not listed here, please forward them to me (Malcolm) or the website administrator and they will be added.
The sky and atmospheric phenomena
The following sayings were compiled by David Phillips, Senior Climatologist, of Environment Canada:
The moon and the weather may change together,
But a change of the moon, will not change the weather.
A ring around the sun or moon, means rain or snow coming soon.
When grass is dry at morning light
Look for rain before the night.
Dew on the grass, rain won't come to pass.
Rain before seven, fine before eleven.
Evening red and morning grey, two sure signs of one fine day.
The sudden storm lasts not three hours
The sharper the blast, the sooner 'tis past.
The higher the clouds the better the weather.
Cold is the night when the stars shine bright.
Sound travelling far and wide, a stormy day betide.
When the forest murmurs and the mountain roars,
Then close your windows and shut your doors.
When leaves show their undersides, be very sure that rain betides.
Chimney smoke descends, our nice weather ends.
When the night goes to bed with a fever, it will awake with a wet head.
When stars shine clear and bright,
We will have a very cold night.
When the ditch and pond offend the nose,
Then look out for rain and stormy blows.
Three days rain will empty any sky.
The farther the sight, the nearer the rain.
Rain long foretold, long last,
Short notice, soon will pass.
The sharper the blast, the sooner 'tis past.
The first and last frosts are the worst.
When clouds look like black smoke a wise man will put on his cloak.
A rainbow afternoon,
Good weather coming soon.
A rainbow in the morning, is the shepherd's warning
A rainbow at night is the shepherd's delight.
When the chairs squeak, it's of rain they speak.
Catchy drawer and sticky door,
Coming rain will pour and pour.
The winds of the daytime wrestle and fight,
Longer and stronger than those of the night.
Dust rising in dry weather is a sign of approaching change.
Sun sets Friday clear as bell,
Rain on Monday sure as hell.
No weather's ill if the wind be still.
The squeak of the snow will the temperature show.
When smoke hovers close to the ground, there will be a weather change.
When down the chimney falls the soot
Mud will soon be underfoot.
When the sun shines while raining,
it will rain the same time again tomorrow.
When the wind blows from the west, fish bite best.
When it blows from the east, fish bite least.
If salt is sticky and gains in weight;
It will rain before too late.
Red sky at night, sailor's delight;
Red sky in morning, sailor take warning.
When clouds appear like rocks and towers,
The Earth's refreshed by frequent showers.
When the wind is in the east, 'tis neither good for man nor beast.
The more cloud types present, the greater the chance of rain or snow.
Other sky and atmospheric phenomena sayings
Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight. Red sky at morning, shepherd’s warning
When the wind is blowing in the North
No fisherman should set forth,
When the wind is blowing in the East,
'Tis not fit for man nor beast,
When the wind is blowing in the South
It brings the food over the fish's mouth,
When the wind is blowing in the West,
That is when the fishing's best!
When halo rings the moon or sun, rain's approaching on the run
Bird, Animal and Insect sayings
When Kitty washes behind her ears, we'll soon be tasting heaven's tears
Sea gull, sea gull, sit on the sand,
It's never good weather while you're on the land.
When sea-gulls fly to land, a storm is at hand.
If bees stay at home, rain will soon come,
If they flay away, fine will be the day.
Cows lie down before rain
A cow with tail to West makes weather best
A cow with tail to East makes weather least
Plant and Tree sayings
If seaweed feels dry, the weather will be dry, if slimy, there will be rain
Ash before the Oak,we are in for a soak; Oak before the Ash, we are in for a splash
When windows won't open, and the salt clogs the shaker, The weather will favour the umbrella maker!
A coming storm your shooting corns presage, and aches will throb and hollow tooth will rage
Weather sayings for each Month of the Year:
Here are Weather Lore sayings for each month of the year:
A January spring is worth naething.
If you see grass in January,
Lock your grain in your granary.
If the grass grow in Janiveer,
It grows the worse for it all the year.
January blossoms fill no man's cellar.
A wet January is not so good for corn, but not so bad for cattle.
If January calends be summerly gay,
It will be winterly weather till the calends of May.
As the Day lengthens,
So the cold strengthens.
Who in January sows oats,
Gets gold and groats ;
Who sows in May,
Gets little that way.
If on the twelfth of January the sun shine, it foreshows much wind.
Remember on St. Vincent's day (22nd),
Be sure to mark his transient beam,
Which through the casement sheds a gleam;
For 'tis a token bright and clear,
Of prosperous weather all the year.
If the sun shine on St. Paul's day (25th), it betokens a good year; if rain or snow, indifferent ; if misty, it predicts great dearth ; if thunder, great winds and death of People that year.
If the weather is fine and frosty at the close of January and the beginning of February, there is more winter ahead than behind.
When the cat lies in the sun in February
She will creep behind the stove in March.
Of all the months of the year
Curse a fair February.
If it thunders in February,
it will frost in April.
If February give much snow,
A fine summer it doth foreshow.
March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb
As many mists in March as there are frosts in May
'A dry March and a wet May
Fill barns and bays with corn and hay.'
'As it rains in March so it rains in June.'
'March winds and April showers
Bring forth May flowers
April showers bring May flowers.
When you hear the Cuckoo shout
It’s time to plant the tatties out
If early April is foggy
Rain in June
Will make lanes boggy.
When April blows its horn
'Tis good for hay and corn.
April wet - good wheat.
Till April's dead, change not a thread
A wet May will find a byre full of hay
A cold May is kindly and fills the barn finely.
“A swarm of bees in May, Is worth a load of hay.”
"Mist in May, Heat in June
Makes harvest come right soon"
If June is sunny, the harvest will come early.
In June, when there is no dew, it indicates rain.
A cold and wet June spoils the rest of the year.
June, damp and warm, does a farmer no harm.
A good rain in June sets all in tune.
The north wind in June blows in a good rye harvest.
An early harvest is expected when the bramble blossoms early in June.
When it is hottest in June, it will be coldest in the correlating days of the following February.
A wet June makes a dry September.
If on the 8th of June it rains, it foretells a wet harvest.
If it rains on the feast of St. Medard (June 8th), it will rain forty days later; but if it rains on St. Prottis (June I9th), it will rain for the next forty days.
Rain on St. Barnabas’ Day (June 11) is good for grapes.
If St. Vitus’s Day (June 15) be rainy weather, it will rain for thirty days together.
If Midsummer Day (June 21 or 24, depending upon your view!) be ever so little rainy, the hazel and walnut will be scarce; corn smitten in many places; but apples, pears, and plums will not be hurt.
Cut your thistles before St. John (June 24), and you will have two instead of one.
If it rains on June 27th, it will rain for seven weeks.
If it rains on St. Peter’s Day (June 29), the bakers will have to carry double flour and single water; if dry, they will carry single flour and double water.
Rain on Peter and Paul (June 29) will rot the roots of the rye.
Calm weather in June sets corn in tune.
Fog in March, thunder in July
A shower of rain in July, when the corn begins to fill,
Is worth a plough of oxen, and all belongs theretill.
When the months of July, August, and September are unusually hot, January will be the coldest month.
If the 1st of July it be rainy weather,
It will rain more or less for four weeks together.
All the tears that St. Swithin can cry,
St. Bartlemy's dusty mantle wipes dry.
(St Swithin's Day is the 15th of July. "Bartlemy" probably refers to St Bartholomew's Day - 24 August)
Dry August and warm,
Doth harvest no harm.
A wet August never brings dearth.
August rain gives honey, wine, and saffron.
When it rains in August, it rains honey and wine.
After Lammas, corn ripens as much by night as by day.
(Note - Alluding to the heavy night dews.)
St. Bartholomew. If it rains this day it will rain the forty days after.
If the twenty-fourth of August be fair and clear,
Then hope for a prosperous autumn that year.
August ripens, September gathers in.
August bears the burden, September the fruit.
None in August should over the land,
In December none over the sea.
If the first week of August be warm, the winter will be white and long.
September blow soft till the fruits in the loft.
November take flail, let ships no more sail.
(Michaelmas Day is the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel, celebrated on 29 September.)
A dark Michaelmas, a light Christmas
St. Michael's rain does not stay long in the sky
St Michael is supposed to have thrown the Devil out of Heaven on Michaelmas Day. The Devil fell into a Bramble bush and returns every Michaelmas Day to curse, stamp and spit on the bush. Therefore one must not pick blackberries after Michaelmas.
Goose was traditionally eaten on St Michael’s Day. If the breast bones of the goose are brown after roasting the following winter should be mild, but if the bones are white or have a slight blue hue then the winter will be severe.
If in the fall of the leaves in October, many of them wither on the boughs and hang there, it betokens a frosty winter and much snow.
Rain in October means wind in December.
When birds and badgers are fat in October, expect a cold winter
When berries are many in October, beware a hard winter.
In October dung your fields
And your land its wealth shall yield.
If ducks do slide at Hallowtide,
At Christmas they will swim;
If ducks do swim at Hallowtide
At Christmas they will slide.
(Hallowtide is from October 31st to November 2nd)
Always will there be Twenty-nine fine days in October.
If the October moon comes without frost,
expect no frost till the moon of November.
A good October and a good blast,to blow the hog acorn and mast.
If the wind is in the south-west at Martinmas (11th Nov), it keeps there till after Candlemas (2nd Feb).
Wind north-west at Martinmas, severe winter to come.
Thunder in November means winter will be late in coming and going.
If the geese at Martinmas stand on ice, they will walk in mud at Christmas.
Ice before Martinmas,
Enough to bear a duck.
The rest of winter,
Is sure to be but muck!
If the leaves of the trees and grape vines do not fall before Martinmas, a cold winter may be expected.
A warm November is the sign of a bad Winter.
Flowers bloomin' in late Autumn,
A sure sign of a bad Winter comin'.
As high as the weeds grow,
So will the bank of snow.
Thunder in December presages fine weather.
Look at the weathercock on St. Thomas's day (21st) at 12 o'clock, and see which way the wind is, for there it will stick for the next (lunar) quarter.
A green Christmas makes a fat churchyard.
If the sun shine through the apple tree on Christmas Day, there will be an abundant crop in the following year.
Light Christmas, light wheatsheaf;
Dark Christmas, heavy wheatsheaf.
If it rain much during the twelve days after Christmas day it will be a wet year.
If Christmas day on Thursday be,
A windy winter ye shall see;
Windy weather in each week,
And hard tempest strong and thick,
The summer shall be good and dry,
Corn and beasts shall multiply ;
The year is good for lands to till,
Kings and princes shall die by skill, &c, &c.
(There are eight more lines but not relating to the weather.)
A windy Christmas and a calm Candlemas (2nd Feb) are signs of a good year.
A warm Christmas, a cold Easter.
A green Christmas, a white Easter.
Sources and attributions
The above sayings have been collated from a wide range of sources including family and friends. I am indebted to all of them and in particular the following:
David Phillips, Senior Climatologist, Environment Canada
R Inwards FRAS (Weather Lore - A collection of proverbs, sayings and rules concerning weather - published 1869 - now published on the net by Toronto Library).
Woodlands Junior School, Tonbridge, Kent