PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — People have been trying to predict the weather for a long time.
Before we had radars, satellites in space and weather models, the only way to predict the weather was observation.
Using what you’re seeing now, and the typical weather that follows an observation was pretty much the only way to predict the weather in the “olden days”.
At some point, people started coming up with rhymes to help remember what the observations would mean.
One of the oldest is: “Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red sky at morning, sailors take warning”.
The saying, however, might not be as old as its origins.
Quotes attributed to Jesus making a reference of using a red sky as a forecast appear in the Bible.
Matthew 16:2-3 reads: When it is evening, you say, “It will be fair weather; for the sky is red.” And in the morning, “It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.”
You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.
Shakespeare even mentions use of the red sky forecasting technique in his poem “Venus And Adonis”.
There it is written:
“Like a red morn, that ever yet betoken’d
Wreck to the seaman, tempest to the field,
Sorrow to shepherds, woe unto the birds,
Gusts and foul flaws to herdmen and to herds.”
That sounds like a really bad forecast!
So, is there any science to back it up? As a matter of fact, there is.
To understand this, you have to first realize the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.
The morning and evening position of the sun are important for this.
When the western sky is clearing, the blue light waves are filtered out by the leftover moisture in the atmosphere when the sun is setting, leaving behind the reds and oranges.
Since weather typically moves west to east, the clear skies are moving your way.
Since the sun rises in the east, if the sky is red, that would indicate the moisture is increasing, and the nice weather is moving away, and storms could be on the way to your area.
Observation is important, and this forecasting technique has stood the test of time.
The only problem is that it is for a very limited area.
Now that we have satellites and radar, we can actually see where the storms are without having to wait until dusk or dawn to figure it out.