Weather Myths: Can you really predict the weather from the birds and the bees?

January 16, 2017 11:20 PM

Every year on February 2, people wait to hear if the groundhog sees his shadow.

As the story goes, if he does, that means six more weeks of winter. We all know that is not true- but is there any truth to predicting the weather from nature's surroundings?

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After all, it's been said that long before we had the forecasting tools that we do now, many used their surroundings to predict the weather.

Some say that you can tell the weather by observing insects- if you don't see many bees out and about, it's believed that they are staying inside their hive because rain is on the way.

Others say that if you notice birds flying low, a storm is brewing.

Are there any truths to these myths?

Kind of...

"Both of those are directly related to a change in the barometric pressure," says horticulturalist Walt Nelson.

"They have learned that when it's a low pressure system coming in, there's going to be some funky weather, 'we better hunker down!'"

That is responding, not forecasting.

What about plants? A myth says that flower petals will open up when good weather is on the way, but they'll close when rain is coming.

Once again, Nelson says it is a case of them responding and adapting, not forecasting.

"They're expressing something that you can see, that is responding to a change in the weather," he says.

"You have to take those reports with a little bit of a grain of salt." 

So, while there is some truth to the myth that nature's changes may give you an indication of what's to come, if you're looking for a five day forecast... nature is probably not your best option. 


Brianna DiPilato

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