USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘Clouds’
Folk Beliefs
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Red Sky at Night, Sailors Delight; Red Sky at Dawn, Sailors Take Warning

Content:
Informant – “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky at dawn, sailor’s take warning.”

Context:
Informant: “This is an old sailor’s saying. Sailors are deeply superstitious people. I’m not sure where I heard it from, it’s just always been around. I’m not sure where it comes from. Maybe it’s because the jet streams blow west to east? The general idea though is that if the sky is red in the morning, that means a storm is coming your way. If it’s red at night, then the next day will be clear.”

Analysis:
There is actually truth to this saying. A red sky at night means that the sun is being refracted through a lot of dust and moisture as it sets. This indicates that a high pressure system is passing, moving west. Good weather will follow. A red sky in the morning however, means that the pressure system is arriving, moving east. This indicates bad weather.

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