Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist says the old adage about a red sky predicting weather to come is a good rule of thumb. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

‘Red sky at night, sailor’s delight’ a good rule of thumb, says Environment Canada meteorologist

Old adage can indicate weather to come

Is it possible to predict the weather based on the colour of the sky?

Doug Lundquist, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, says there’s a lot of truth to the old adage: “red sky at night, sailor’s delight – red sky in morning, sailor’s warning.”

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Most weather systems travel from west to east, Lundquist explained. When the reddish-orange morning sun shines from the east onto clouds coming from the west, the sky turns red. In the evening, as the sun sets, the process is the opposite as the weather system moves away.

A red sky in the morning doesn’t always mean poor weather is coming, and it isn’t always instant, but it often means that some kind of storm is on its way in the “mid-latitudes,” Lundquist explained. He pointed out that the weather is different near the equator and near the poles, so the saying doesn’t work everywhere in the world.

“It’s a good rule of thumb,” he said, “but it’s important to note that we have two thumbs.”

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Lundquist noted that the weather forecasting technology that’s available nowadays is more reliable than a rhyming saying. However, he pointed out that the red sky adage can be helpful in a pinch and can be a good reminder to check the forecast.

On the morning of Dec. 27, the sky glowed red in Greater Victoria and Lundquist confirmed that rain was on its way the next afternoon and would last into the following week.


@devonscarlett
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devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

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