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The seven farmers tales that show rain is on its way-

At the moment we are all eyes peeled staring at the blue sky, hoping to see some clouds holding rain. Allthough its still early in the summer- South Africa is very dry. Enjoy this article and maybe you can learn a few things. 

While it seems there are a million anecdotal ways to make it rain, from washing the car to it being the first Saturday of the cricket season, we thought we’d take a moment to have a look at some of the old farmers tales that are sure signs there is rain on the way.

When it comes to predicting the weather by using nature signs, old civilizations were masters in doing it. If you’re on a wilderness trip without checking the weather forecast before, there are plenty of ways to read the language of nature and tell what the weather will be like in the next hours and even days.

Changing air pressure means that the weather will change. If you feel low air pressure that means that rain clouds are nearby. Increasing air pressure means that a bright and sunny day is coming. A good way to measure air pressure without a barometer is to follow the direction of the campfire smoke. If the smoke goes straight upwards the air pressure is high. If it descends, it means the pressure is low. You may also notice that birds fly or perch lower as they feel the air pressure drop.

Reading the height and the shape of the clouds is something you must learn if you want to have weather accuracy. High and white clouds mean a sunny and bright day. Black and low clouds are a sign of a rainstorm. A grey veil formed by clouds means that you need to run to a shelter.

A red sky at dusk and dawn is one of the most beautiful views that we all enjoy, especially near the beach. If the sky is red at dusk, it means that the next day will be sunny. On the contrary, a red sky at dawn means that the low pressure air is bringing moisture and rain.

Ancient people closely observed the behavior of animals to predict weather changes. Watch animals to see how their behavior changes with the weather change. For example, insect-eating birds like swallows fly low right before the rain, and ants tend to build their anthills with higher, steeper sides. Also, if you notice that the bees and butterflies disappear from the flowers they usually visit, it means the storm is coming.

It’s of extreme importance to know what climate are you going to face on a wild adventure because you need to stay safe and take precautions if there’s a storm coming closer. Predicting weather is a crucial skill that every hiking and backpacking enthusiast should learn

1) Echidnas
Farmers are saying they’ve never seen so many Echidnas around as they are seeing at the moment. And, you know what they say with Echidnas, if you see one then three days later it will rain. 

2) Kookaburras
Heard the call of the King of the Bush in the past few days? Well, that’s great news, because a Kookaburra laughing is sure sign that rain is on the horizon. 

3) Ants  
It seems ants have a lot of ways of showing us rain is on the way. Firstly, are ants driving you nuts in the kitchen? Then don’t despair! It’s a sign that rain is on the horizon. Secondly, noticed the little guys building their nests higher? Another sign that rain is on the way. And thirdly, if you’ve noticed them running about more than normal it’s yet another sign wet weather is ahead.  

4) Gum trees
Are the gum trees around your place in full bloom? That’s mother nature telling you the rain is coming. So keep an eye on those gums. But also, take note if those gums are folding up their leaves. Another sure sign rain is on the way.

5) Stormbird
Have you heard the call of the stormbird lately? Well, it’s not just really irritating, it’s also got that name for a reason. The old saying goes when the Common Koel lets out its distinctive call, rain is on the way.

6) Black Cockatoos
An increase in the number of black cockatoos in the area is said to be an indicator of rain, or is it when black cockatoos fly from the hills to the coast? We’ve heard both! And apparently in the latter theory each bird in the flock equals one days rain!

7) Sound
It seems your ears are as important a detector when it comes to rain as your eyes. The old saying goes that sound travels further before a storm. And it seems there is some truth behind it as moist air carries sound further than dry air. Low dense rain clouds act as a barrier though, which makes everything seem louder.

Here a few other-

If you’ve ever hung around a lake or marshland at night, that loud, high-pitched sound you’re hearing is probably coming from frogs. If you ever notice that the sound of those frogs starts to get louder and go on longer, that probably means there’s a storm coming.

When birds fly high up in the sky, it usually means that the weather will be good because the sky is clear. If they start flying lower to the ground, it’s said that it’s because there’s bad weather coming. The pressure dropping in the atmosphere from an oncoming storm makes the birds uncomfortable when flying high up in the sky. Seagulls, for example, will return to land if they sense the pressure drop over water.

Have you ever seen a cow start to get antsy and restless? Is their tail frantically swatting at flies? Well some farmers believe that the cows are predicting an oncoming storm when they start to act this way. They may even lay down in the grass to save a spot before it gets wet from the rain.

 It is believed that bees and butterflies can also sense pressure changes in the atmosphere like birds can. So when you look in the gardens and notice there are no bees or butterflies, it probably means they have gone away to hide from the rain that is on it’s way.

There is an old rhyme that goes “When sheep gather in a huddle, tomorrow we’ll have a puddle.” It may not be entirely true, but it’s thought that when the sheep start to gather close together they are shielding each other from a potential oncoming storm. Whether it be rain, wind or snow these guys have each other’s backs!

If you ever notice that tiny ant hills on sidewalks and driveways start to get bigger, it probably means a storm or some rain is coming. Some believe that the ants are trying to make their mounds more sturdy and even cover the entrance to their underground tunnels.

Elephants have greater hearing than humans and can hear sounds much lower than we can. So if an earthquake happens, scientists believe that maybe the elephants can hear them from a great distance away as well as feel the vibrations through their large feet. This gives the elephants a warning that it’s time to flee to higher and safer grounds. Maybe we should follow!


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