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How Did They Predict The Weather Back Then?

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How Did They Predict The Weather Back Then?

Every generation has their own methods 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. What do you think — does this weather lore it still hold up, 180 years later?

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.

Like what you read? If you enjoy these kinds of vintage finds, there’s plenty more in the special section of the 2018 edition. Order your copy today!

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If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1919, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.

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