DIY: Weather Forecasting by Reading the Signs of Nature

Photo Credit: Lynda Errington


If, like me, you have spent most of your life being close to Nature, and are a good observer, then you can probably be your own Weather Forecaster.

In fact, perhaps even better than Professional Weather Forecasters, who are frequently wrong because they rely on technology and probability,  but are rarely good observers of Nature.

Let us look at some of the signs which all of us already know and the inherent kowledge of which we were born with.

Barometric Pressure

We are all familiar with the heavy lethargic feeling which is caused by low barometric pressure, or with the energetic feeling of a crisp and cool day on high barometric pressure days. The opposing fact is that low barometric pressure means high temperatures, whereas high barometric pressure relates to lower temperatures.

It is a good idea to have a barometer in your house to let you know when barometric pressure is high or low, just to confirm that it affects you in various ways.

Animal Responses

Insects such as ants are lazy and sluggish when the barometer is low. They move faster when the air pressure is high. Birds like swallows and martins are flying low over land and water when a storm front is approaching. Spiders abandon their nets when bad, windy weather lies ahead and hide in nearby cracks and fissures.

Sometimes you can see immense swarms of small insects in the sky, particularly above rivers. Some people interpret this as a sign of changing weather in one way or another. However, even though you won’t see that happening on very windy days, it has nothing to do with the weather. These are small, non-biting insects known as “Gnats”, which are performing their mating cycle in the air.

Plant Responses

Clover is one of the flowers which close up when rain is ahead. Some other flowering plants with delicately attached petals, such as morning glory and tulips, may do the same.



Inconsistent wind speeds, with frequent changes of velocity, swirling and gusting, are indicators of an approaching front.

Steady winds signify stable weather.

East and northeast winds move counter-clockwise and indicate low pressure and stormy weather ahead.

South winds are gentler and bring warm, humid weather conditions.

West and northwest winds are bringers of high barometric pressure and cool, crisp weather.


Other Signs affected by Nature

Smoke rising straight up from a chimney indicates high barometric pressure, as opposed to smoke going down, which identifies low barometric pressure.

A moon which has a halo around it is sending its light through cirrostratus clouds, which signal a warm front approaching and possibly precipitation (rain or snow).

After a night with frost, dew or fog in the morning, we are looking at a clear day ahead.

Brilliant red or pink sunsets predicts fair weather ahead. The colours in a sunset are reflections on the dust and moisture in the air. Remember the old saying “red sky at night, sailor’s delight”.

Observe your own predictions based on these facts and compare them with what you are being told by the media. Your correctness over theirs may surprise you!


Written by

Peter Iden is a resident of Wasaga Beach and a Naturalist and Photographer who has a broad range of knowledge of the natural world. Peter is also a volunteer Warden for the Piping Plover Recovery Programme with the Friends of Nancy Island.


No comments