Simple Ways to Predict Rain in the Ozarks

Kerry Kelley and I are publishing a book from Ozark Grannies’ Secrets about foraging and cooking foraged foods called Gourmet Weeds. Here’s a link to the Facebook page for the book.

Foraging is fun especially here in the Ozarks, but we have the most changeable weather in the country. When they say “If you don’t like the weather, don’t worry, it will change” is truer of the Ozarks than any other place I have been which is one of the reasons that we have such a diversity of plants and animals.

Another problem we have here in many areas of the Ozarks is the ability to get cell service and internet. These services are still spotty at times, especially along the rivers. Therefore it helps to learn the signs of incoming stormy weather.

Low Pressure Means Rain

Everyone has heard of an older person who says that the pain in their shoulders tells them when there’s going to be precipitation. Although many poo-poos this idea, there may actually be some scientific evidence that what this person is feeling is a change in the barometric pressure of the air. I know that at my age, I have started noticing that just before a weather event, my own arthritis begins to act up. Once the weather has passed, the arthritis pain subsides.


Another way to tell when the weather is going to change is by looking at the clouds. High fluffy clouds mean that there’s going to be good weather (at least until those clouds change). The lower the clouds hang in the sky, the more likely you’ll have weather. A high stacked cloud or thunderhead head indicates a thunderstorm is developing. A long rope of heavy clouds that hang low to the ground indicates that cyclonic or hail may be on its way.

Red Sky

There’s truth to the adage “Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.” A red sky at night indicates that the day will be sunny the following day.  A red sky in the morning, however, indicates that there is low air pressure and it is likely to rain that day.

How are Animals Behaving?

Insect-eating birds like swallows fly low right before the rain, and ants tend to build their anthills with higher, steeper sides. They become lazy and sluggish when it’s low. Also, if you notice that the bees and butterflies disappear from the flowers they usually visit, it means the storm is coming.

Rings around the Moon or Sun

If you see milky-white rings around the Sun or Moon, it’s a sign of extreme humidity and moisture coming closer to the Earth’s surface.

Curly Hair turns Frizzy

If you’re hiking and your curly hair goes crazy and your body’s perspiration doesn’t evaporate, this is indicative of high humidity in the air. This may or may not be a sign of incoming rain.

Where’s the Smoke?

If instead of smoke rising from a chimney, the smoke goes down the chimney, this indicates a low-pressure system and possible rain.


Wind speed, direction, and consistency are very indicative of what the weather is doing. If the wind velocity suddenly picks up, with swirling, gusty breezes, a front is approaching. A steady wind—moderate or light—is typically a sign of stable weather.

Changes in wind direction are one of the best indications of changes in the weather. East and northeast winds are the counterclockwise currents of a low-pressure center and often indicate stormy weather ahead.  Winds from the south often mean warm, humid conditions. They can bring rain, too, though often of a gentler variety than east winds. West and northwest winds are often harbingers of good weather—cool and crisp with a high barometer.


I have heard that dandelions close their flowers when a thunderstorm is approaching. I don’t think the dandelions in my yard got that memo because as I am writing this, I looked out at the dandelions in my yard and their flowers are open wide and I can hear thunder in the distance. They say the same about tulips and clover flowers as well.

Predicting the weather by observing nature improves with practice. If you really want to know if it is going to rain or not, I think that a good way is to watch weather forecasts and look for various ways that others say indicate rain. Now, observe what nature is doing around you. You can then write down what you observe and see if what you observe happens every time or even most of the time.  

Want to know more about me through the Author Cygnet Brown Profile Page

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