Sunday, April 25, 2010

Using modern Technology to hone weather prediction skill

Being able to predict incoming weather is an important part of any outdoor living study. Accurate forecasting means not only safety but reduce calories expended putting up tools, covering unfinished shelters, insulating objects, etc. Here's something you can do to build that skill from the comfort of a modern home with TV or internet capability.
There are certain things to look for. In Boy Scouts we used to learn what clouds represented different weather phenomenon, and everyone has heard the old saying, "Red sky at night sailors delight - red sky in morning, sailors warning." Well, at least I have, but then again I'm a sailor. More than once have I put an unsuspecting student on alert by pointing out some irrelevant, or well concealed hint in the forest about weather. By the time he figures out it was a joke he'll be able to predict the weather himself! HA! There are many folk tales of similar wisdom passed down, just as there are natural objects that flux and change with weather. Pine cones, leaves, bird behavior, animals in general, wind, blur forming around stars, moon rings, and more. However, putting these things to work accurately, as a beginner, can be frustrating and perhaps dangerous. Try this instead.
Take a look at your regional weather map. Study it and learn to read it as you would any other map. Learn about the fronts, depressions, high pressure zones, and how each affects incoming 'weather'. Then go outside. Don't even try to make connections just simply observe. Do this as often as possible. In the mountains listening to the actual forecast is about as good as rolling dice with a different weather event on each side, but the maps are great. Pay special attention when a storm is approaching. Watch the skies when clearing is in your local future. Watch the birds, your dog, any older animals you have (maybe you!), watch the trees, and listen with your heart to what the mountains/nature around you are speaking anytime certain weather events approach.

Over time you will start sounding like my grandpa; "Well, looks like a rain comin in directly." Or you may even start scurrying around like a squirrel pulling tarps, throwing things in cars, and sticking the lawn mower out of the weather, calling out with great anxiety, "We only have about 10 minutes before she opens up!" HAHA! Or perhaps you can lay down at night, comfy on the soft grass of a highland meadow while everyone else is busy staking a tent and say, "Naa. The stars don't call for rain tonight." That's my kind of astrology.
For hands on practice at reading weather sign in nature sign up for a scout camp this summer - dates and details on SCHEDULE page!