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GRANDMA SAYS: Something fishy overhead

When Sheila Woodcock stepped out of her home in Feltzen South, Lunenburg county NS, she saw beautiful bands of bright white streaking across the sky.  She immediately knew something was brewing…
When Sheila Woodcock stepped out of her home in Feltzen South, Lunenburg county NS, she saw beautiful bands of bright white streaking across the sky. She immediately knew something was brewing… - Contributed

I talk about the weather. A lot.

I produce 30 minutes of video every day.  Most of that is weather forecast details, but I also like to share some of my Grandma’s wisdom and occasionally teach a little something along the way.

This letter from Sheila Woodcock made me smile.

“Hello Cindy,

“Always enjoy reading your page and the photos.  When I saw this sky today, after reading about the system moving in, I couldn’t resist taking a photo and sending it to you!  This is probably one of the best examples I have seen of a mackerel sky predicting change.  Keep up the good work and thank you.”

Sheila’s photo is lovely and not only is it a great example of a mackerel sky, there’s a washboard sky in the mix, too.

First the mackerel sky.  It’s so named because the cloud elements look like fish scales.  Our ancestors believed – and for good reason – that when they saw this cloud overhead, there would be some moisture, but not much… “Mackerel sky, never long wet, never long dry.”  Those clouds were associated with a weak disturbance that raced across the region Tuesday night.

Now to the washboard sky.  The cloud elements are longer and look like the ridges of a washboard; they too are altocumulus clouds.  Altocumulus clouds are mid-level clouds that often display visible rows or ripples, alternating with blue sky.  These clouds are commonly found between weather systems and are a sign of approaching instability in the atmosphere.

What’s a special sky without a rhyme?  Grandma Says – “Washboard sky – not three days dry.”  Sheila snapped this photo Tuesday… and here we are.  Grandma comes through again!

If you’re curious about something you’ve observed, drop me a line and I’ll do my best to explain it.  A photo always helps: weathermail@weatherbyday.ca



Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network

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