Be your own weatherman this monsoon

DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Jun 25, 2015, 4:52 am IST
Updated Mar 28, 2019, 6:47 pm IST
Low pressure and high humidity allow fragrances to escape
Representational image
 Representational image
Rains can be very unpredictable and our met department is nothing to write home about when it comes to predictions. So when it comes to planning excursions or outings, we often rely on weather applications on our cellphones these days, not realising that the data is again from the met department. But, it is quite easy to predict a storm. Our forefathers would do it unerringly, without the help of any apps or weather forecasts. Here’s how...
 
Listen for the frogs
These amphibians just get a whole lot louder when stormy weather is on the way. If you start noticing croaks, you might want to get your umbrella ready.
 
Trust your nose
Low pressure and high humidity allow fragrances to escape, which means things like the scent of flowers or grass will be stronger when it’s about to rain (sorry, city dwellers). But, even if you do live in an urban area, you might notice a scent of ozone in the air — lightning causes ozone to form and the storm’s downdrafts bring that smell to nose level. 
 
Check your hair
This surely isn’t news for anyone with humid-sensitive hair, but when hair curls up or frizzes out, bring an umbrella to work that day.
 
Look at the birds
Birds have the best vantage point (and something called the paratympanic organ, that acts as a barometer). When birds are soaring high in the sky, the skies are probably fair, whereas in storm systems, the falling pressure in the air is the source of fowl discomfort. A crowded phone line is a good place to look if birds are staying low to the ground. If you’re seaside, keep an eye out for seagulls. They’re rarely seen standing around or walking unless the weather on the water is bad.
 
Trust that old adage
‘Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in morning, sailors take warning’, is actually fairly reliable, at least in places where weather systems come out of the west. The effect is caused by low angle light shining on dirt and particles trapped by high barometric pressure. High pressure occurs when the air mass is being pushed down so it’s hard for clouds to form, while low pressure allows the air mass to expand and clouds to form more easily. So, a red sunset usually means that the cloud-free high pressure system is coming towards you, while a red sunrise means the high pressure system has already passed and the rain is coming. 
 
And another one
‘When a halo rings the moon or sun, rain is approaching on the run’. This rhyming phrase might not be as familiar to you, but it’s just as accurate. A halo will form around the sun or moon when ice crystals, high up, refract the light. They’re a sign that the weather is going to change and most likely bring rain.
 
(Source: www.mentalfloss.com)
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