Red sky at night

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

  • For a brief moment this evening the sky became a blanket of blue, mauve, red, and orange. It reminded me of that old saying “Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight. Red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning.” The old lantern seemed reminiscent of a Shepherd’s Staff too, so of course I took a picture.

    I wondered how true the saying is. Does a red sky at night really mean tomorrow’s weather will be good? According the the British national weather service, there is some merit to the old proverb.

    Apparently a red sky at sunset means that high pressure is moving in from the west. Therefore it’s relatively safe to assume (in the northern hemisphere at least) the next day will usually be dry and pleasant. However, a red sky in the morning indicates that the high pressure weather system has already moved east, meaning the good weather has passed, most likely making way for a wet and windy low pressure system.”

    That’s the rather gloomy British weather service though, a country famous for atrocious weather where assuming it will rain is probably a safe bet. However, the old proverb doesn’t just apply to British shepherds. A version of the same proverb replaces shepherds with sailors, and one might argue that sailors need a relatively reliable proverb to go by.

    I’m not sure the sky tonight can truly be counted as “red.” So if I want to know what the clouds have in store for me tomorrow I’ll fall back to using the weather app on my iPhone.

    Stand where this picture was taken using Google street view.

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