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Weather or not!

Notes from the North Woods

Still and calm waters such at these on Barnum Pond, may accompany either a high or a low pressure system.  However the old rhyme, 'Red sky at night, sailor's delight' is generally accepted as a reliable indication of fair weather conditions soon to follow.

Still and calm waters such at these on Barnum Pond, may accompany either a high or a low pressure system. However the old rhyme, 'Red sky at night, sailor's delight' is generally accepted as a reliable indication of fair weather conditions soon to follow. Photo by Joe Hackett.

It had been a typical summer day in the Adirondack. The blue sky was dotted with tall, fast moving puffy clouds as I fished for bass on a local lake. However, when the sky began to darken and the leaves of a hardwood tree began to reveal their white underbellies, I recognized the signals of an impending rain.

There were threatening clouds on the far horizon, and I could smell rain in the air. My ears began popping with the advancing low air pressure system, and the lake’s surface turned flat and glassy.

I motored down the lake to take shelter before the wind began to kick up. There were a couple of other boats that had already retreated, but many remained out on the lake. Shortly after I got to the dock, the clouds let loose a torrential downpour and boats began to scramble for cover.

Most of the late returnees were totally drenched and they soon provided evidence of just how far removed modern society has become from being able to understand and recognize the natural progression of weather.

“I never even saw it coming,” exclaimed one young man. “Me either,” chimed in another. “That one really snuck up on me. The weather report sure was wrong!”

Summer thunderstorms have a tendency to sneak up on travelers in the Adirondacks, especially while on a lake where the surrounding topography often limits a view of the distant horizon. It happens likewise on the trail, when tall mountains shield the vista.

Despite the numerous natural warning signals that we should heed, travelers commonly fail to recognize the natural signs.

Unfortunately, today’s travelers have become too accustomed to relying on weather forecasters, Doppler Radar Accu-casts. They obtain weather knowledge from a variety of sources, rather than from natural observations.

As a result, modern society has failed to recognize or retain many of the long accepted, weather signals. Many of these natural indicators have been forgotten. Surely, most people have heard about the predictability of the groundhog and his shadow, which is more fable than fact.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net.

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