Is there any truth to the saying “Red at night, sailor’s delight. Red at morning, sailors take warning.”? Implying that if the sky is red at night the next day will be nice, and if the sky is red in the morning a storm is coming.

I remember in my meterology course in college, my instructor said that there was some truth to it. He then went on to tell why and ya know what? I cant remember what he said… haha… bet I would be helpful if I could! :slight_smile:

“Boy, wouldja get a load of the cloaca on that one”? -Cecil Adams, october 8 1999

AH HA! found something! A reason for this is at the bottom of the page on this link…

Cecil dealt with this, I am sure of it…

Yer pal,

Its from the Bible,I think. Someone smarter will come along with the verse…

Matthew 16.2-3, “when it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ and in the morning,
‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’”

b-line,thank you. You are smart!And you read your bible! :wink:

I always thought it was because of prevailing winds. The Jet Stream traveling from west to east in the Northern Hemisphere. A red sky in morning usually requires clear weather in the east and cloudy skys in the west. The rays of light shining against the bottom of the front as the sun rising, meaning a front is to the west while clear skys are over your head and/or to the east. The opposite being true at night, cloud cover to the east and clear to the west, meaning the front is moving out. I however have no proof to back this up other than the vague recollection of having it explained to me when I was much younger.

well orange… not so smart (it was in the link that i posted… haha) but I AM cute! :slight_smile:

I had rationalized that the rhyme didn’t completely explain the situation. I’ve noticed that almost all sunrises and sunsets have at least some red to them. However, when that color is reflected off clouds on the opposite horizon, it tends to indicate the weather better. For instance, if the red glow of the sunrise illuminates the clouds to the west, that indicates there is a large cloud mass to the west which will probably arrive later in the day; the sunset indicating the clouds have passed.

The meteorologists will have a field day with this, but I believe the tall clouds to the west, particularly in the morning, is an indication of an approaching cold front leading to the heavier precipitation than warm fronts.

Hey, aren’t you supposed to be at work?

Cecil did indeed do a column on it, but I can’t find it in the Archives. I read it recently, however, so here’s my memory at work.

The grain of truth to it: Red sky at night can mean a nice day coming. Basically, the sun sets in the west, and the red sky means absence of moisture in the air (?); the weather patterns (in northern hemisphere) tend to move from west to east, so you can expect (probably) pleasant weather the next day.

The no-rationale part: red sky in the morning means nothing.

I couldn’t find Cecil’s column, either, but I remember he had one on this topic.

Dr. Dewpoint has the following comment:


Cecil’s column on the topic does not appear in the archives here but may be found on pages 113-114 in More of the Straight Dope.