It is commonly known that you need to check the weather forecast before heading to the wilderness. But these forecasts can only go so far on your extended trips. Perhaps, you will find yourself in the middle of nowhere with no access to information. So, checking the forecast later is out of the question. Now, what happens when you are faced with an unexpected turn of events? Rain or storm can completely ruin your trip, especially when they catch you off guard. We have prepared a guide explaining how to predict rain or storm in the wild so that you can dodge any unnecessary inconvenience in the middle of a forest.
Here’s the thing, there is nothing called unpredictable weather if you know how to take hints from your surroundings. There are many factors that affect weather, such as air pressure, temperature, cloud patterns, wind factors. Reading nature’s sign is an age-old art and it still proves to be efficient even when all other tools fail. To increase your chance of survival, hop on to know all about how to predict rain or storm in the wild!
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How To Predict Rain Or Storm In The Wild: Look at the sky!
No, this is not a title for the next Coldplay album. Rather, it is the most intuitive method of predicting the weather. Paying close attention to the appearance of the sky, atmospheric conditions, clouds – their type, relative altitude, difference in layers, can help you understand what nature has in store.
Do you see a red sky?
Often times, we see a red sky during sunrise or sunset. As beautiful as they look, there is a reason behind it. A red sky during sunset is caused due to sunrays passing through a high concentration of dust particles. This indicates that stable air and high pressure are coming from the west. In short, a red sky at sunset is usually followed by a beautiful sunny day. It is a hiker’s delight! But a red sky during sunrise can mean otherwise. A fiery red sunrise indicates high humidity and low pressure, which precedes rain and storm. It is a hiker’s warning!
How To Predict Rain Or Storm In The Wild: Read the clouds!
Clouds can not only tell you whether or not to expect rain but also what type of rain to expect. Meteorologists have spent years classifying clouds based on their size, shape, and position, and what they would imply. Clouds can be very useful indicators when you are out in the wild with no tool other than your knowledge.
Cumulus: Cumulus refers to white, fluffy, cotton-top clouds sitting idly overhead. They are non-threatening on their own. But you should be on the lookout for darker clouds joining them. Cumulus in low-pressure conditions can turn into stormy cumulonimbus clouds, also known as thunderheads. In that case, you might want to gather and store extra firewood in a dry, sheltered place for later use.
Cirrus: Thin and streaky white clouds against the blue sky, the cirrus appear to be at a high altitude. They imply changing moisture levels and air movement high in the atmosphere. When the cirrus clouds cover a large part of the sky overhead or form a halo around the sun, a change of weather might be on its way.
Stratus: Stratus are low altitude clouds, often covering the sky like a blanket. They may be puffy or wispy, white or gray, scattered or continuous. They form when cold air is pushed by warm air. When these clouds appear to be continuous at an even altitude or when the scattered ones darken up, there is a probability of rain.
Detect air pressure
Detecting air pressure is another crucial way for learning how to predict a rain or storm in the wild. Although air pressure does not leave as obvious marks as the clouds, we can tell you just how to detect the current air pressure conditions.
Low atmospheric pressure is followed by cloud precipitation, which results in rainfall, while high atmospheric pressure precedes clear sky and bright day.
If you don’t have a barometer available, form a fire and observe the smoke. If you see the smoke rising vertically, it means the air pressure is high. On the other hand, swirling smoke indicates low air pressure.
Listen to the wind!
Wind movement varies based on location and season. So wherever you go, you should familiarize yourself with the typical wind patterns of that region. It is likely that you will experience a typical weather condition for some consecutive days, pay attention to any changes in the pattern.
If you notice any unusual movement of the clouds or if the direction of the wind changes, you should be expecting a different weather condition. But sometimes the wind can be extremely subtle. Toss fine dirt in the air and see which way they fall to determine wind’s direction then.
A gentle wind is a sign of clear weather. You can relax and set out to experience your long-planned wilderness trip without any worry. But if you notice strong, aggressive wind movement there’s a possibility that a storm is brewing. Finding a suitable shelter and stocking up on dry woods will be a smart thing to do in that case.
How To Predict Rain Or Storm In The Wild: Pay attention to the Moon!
The moon’s visage can speak volumes about the weather. Look at the moon tonight. If you see a clearly defined picture it would indicate an absence of moisture and dust particles. So the next day will most probably be dry and bright. On the other hand, if you see a hazy ring around the moon, be prepared to experience an incoming rainy day. The ring is formed due to presence of moisture. Low pressure system is likely to be on its way. So reaching for your rain boots might be a good idea then.
How To Predict Rain Or Storm In The Wild: Take Hints From Nature
Like we said before, the weather does not change abruptly. Nature will continue to give signals indicating an incoming change, be it so subtle. Here are some common indicators available in nature that you should not miss when out in the wilderness.
Predict The Weather By Using Plants
You must have heard of the phrase “it smells like rain”. It is not made up! Moisture in the low-pressure system carries scent from the plants. This petrichor is a great indicator of rain and storm that is forming.
Everything in nature exists in sweet harmony. You will see that leaves of deciduous trees will prepare themselves for wet weather by curling upward. Even pine cones anticipate rain by closing their scales in high humidity.
Predict Weather By Using Animals
Wild animals are highly instinctual which makes them efficient at sensing bad weather conditions. Its almost as if they have a built-in radar to foresee weather. You should watch out for any change in their feeding patterns and behavior.
If you are camping near a water body, you will see that fish will appear on the surface, prior to a storm. This is their way of hunting for food so that they can ride it to deeper water where food is scarce. After you have prepared your shelter to meet the storm, you can go fishing to add variety to your dinner menu.
On a clear day, you will see birds flying high in the sky. But a change in pressure hurts their airs. So when the pressure drops, they fly lower. Songbirds sing less before a storm. Robin is an exception though. They become more vocal during the rain.
Moreover, flies appear to be busier and more active before a storm. Cows and horses show ear sensitivity behavior due to a drop in pressure. Along the coastline, seagulls take shelter before the rain.
To summarize, nature has a surprising yet beautiful way to convey weather reports. When you are out in the wild, your constant vigilance is necessary because rain and storm in the jungle can be merciless sometimes. Knowing how to predict rain or storm in the wild will definitely come handy as a great survival skill on your extended adventures. So if any of these indicators catch your eyes, be sure to prepare yourselves accordingly.