What’s the Weather: Red sky warnings – fact or folklore?

Weather Authority University

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – You’ve heard the old saying, “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in morning, sailors, heed warning.” But is the saying founded on facts? Or is it just folklore?

The answer, of course, can be found in science! First, let’s go waaay back to when you were a kid, and you learned that the sun rises in the east, and sets in the west. Next, we have to remember the fact that most of our weather comes from the west and moves to the east here in the Northern Hemisphere, and specifically in the Mid-Latitudes.

Why are those two things important? Early in the morning, if the sun is rising on one side of the horizon (east), and we have weather coming in from the other side of the horizon (west), the low-angle light from the sun will scatter off incoming clouds, creating a beautiful red hue. Thus, red sky in the morning.

On the flip side, if the sun is setting in the west, while bad weather is moving away, to the east, the sun angle at sunset will scatter light in a similar fashion, creating a colorful sky.

SO, generally speaking, this old saying holds up! If you see a red sky at night, it means bad weather is moving away!

Ever wonder what makes hail? Or how lightning gets formed? The News 2 Weather Authority is here to help! Find those answers and more at the Weather Authority University!

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