1837 Throwback: How Did They Predict The Weather Back Then?

Every generation has its own method for predicting the weather. What did they do before Doppler radar? See what we said in the 1837 Almanac.

Every generation has its own method for predicting the weather. So what did people do before Doppler radar? They looked to their surroundings and paid attention to signs from nature and the world around them. We combed our archives for timely advice from the past for our special “Throwback” section and came across this list of weather folklore.

Here are some of the signs from the “olden days” that people used to predict the weather. We ran this list in the 1837 edition of the Farmers’ Almanac.

Prognostics of the Weather

From the 1837 Farmers’ Almanac

  1. Candles. Candles, as well as lamps, often afford good prognostics of weather. When the flames of candles flare and snap, or burn with an unsteady or dim light, rain, and frequently wind also, are found to follow.
  2. Color of the Sky. Greenish color of the sky near to the horizon often shows that we may expect more wet weather. The most beautiful and varied tints are seen in autumn, and in that season, the purple of the falling haze is often a sign of a continuation of fine weather.
  3. Hogs. When Hogs shake the stalks of corn, it often indicates rain. When they run squeaking about, and throw up their heads with a peculiar jerk, it is a sign of wind.
  4. The Moon. When she looks fiery, or red, like the color of copper, wind is generally to be suspected; when pale, with ill-defined edges, rain; when very clear and bright, fine weather.

What do you think — does this weather lore it still hold up all these years later?

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Glennis Hogan

Yes, I believe you can tell a change just by watching the animals. On the farm, if the cows were lifting their heads and smelling the air I knew we were expecting rain most likely. All animals tell you when something is amiss. I have a couple of cats and even now if outside working in my yard I keep an eye on them as they let me know when something is different. Animals have that sense that lets them stay alive in adverse situations.


I’ll look at the moon to see if it’s going to rain soon or not. I’ve noticed that if there’s a small halo or blurred edges, it’ll rain within 24 hours but a large halo indicates rain within 72 hours. I use this method when watering my gardens.


What a wonderful way to be in tune with nature! Thank you for sharing!!

Lola Winston

I love this app so much

Lola Winston


Last edited 2 years ago by Lola Winston
Lynnette Dudley

i love this app

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