October 2, 2011 by wcobserver
By Adam Leslie, Park Interpreter
Nature is full of weather predictions, but some are harder to interpret than others. Sure, if the grass is wilting just about everyone can identify that we are in a drought. When the sky is dark, we can determine a storm is approaching. However, a real naturalist can tell what the winter is going to be like, if it is going to rain tomorrow and even what the temperature is just by using clues from nature.
The most common question I get related to weather in the park is “What is the chance of rain?” There are quite a few clues that you can use to predict this yourself. Watch the sunrise and sunset. If the sunset is red tomorrow will be a nice day. This is due to the sun shining through the dust that a high pressure systems dry air is blowing in. If the sunrise is red however you should prepare for rain. Red in the morning is caused by a large amount of moisture being pushed in by a low pressure system.
Another way to observe barometric pressure, or these high and low pressure systems, is to start a campfire and see what the smoke does. If it steadily rises it will be a nice day due to the high pressure system. If it swirls and descends there is a low pressure system moving in, meaning rain. One other way to predict this pressure is to watch the Tarantulas. They are very sensitive to barometric pressure. Tarantulas burrow underground, so if you see a large amount of Tarantulas moving to higher ground you can assume that a storm is coming.
If you want to determine how bad the winter is going to be you can check the persimmon seeds. Splitting the seed in half will give you one of three shapes. If you find a spoon you will be shoveling a bunch of snow. A knife in the middle signifies strong winds and ice that cut to the bone. Lastly a fork in the seed means you will be raking hay early due to the mild winter.
Last but not least we have the best trick of all, telling the temperature by using crickets. We have all probably heard crickets chirping at night and thought nothing of it, but surprisingly enough they are telling us the temperature. If you count the amount of chirps a single cricket makes in fifteen seconds and then add thirty-seven to it you have the temperature in Fahrenheit.
All of these clues are easily observed at Devil’s Den State Park, so come on down and look for yourself, because it is better to get the bad news of rain from a beautiful sunrise than a weatherman who is wrong half the time! P.S. the seeds this year are spoons.