Category Archives: Weather

Weather

The yeare hath 33 evil dayes

Today’s post comprises some rather entertaining snippets on predicting the weather, and a list of the 33 evil days to avoid each and every year, taken from a book on Rules to Judge The Weather (1605),

How to Judge of weather by the Sunne rising or going downe:

The Sunne in the Horizon or rising, cleare and bright, sheweth a pleasant day: but thinly overcast with a clowd, betokeneth foule weather. Also at the going downe, the body diversly coloured or red, and about dispersed with like clowdes, the beames red, and of length, pronounce great windes the next day from that part. Blacknesse in the Sunne or Moone, betokeneth water: Red signifieth winde.

How by the Clowdes, change of weather is perceived:

If thicke clowdes resembling flockes, or rather great heapes of wooll gathered in many places, they shew raine. Also when grosse darke clowdes, right over the North part, or somewhat declining to the West are close with the Earth, immediately followeth raine. If they appeare like illes, some deale from the earth, a good token of weather overpassed. Black clowdes signifie raine. White clowdes appearing in winter at the Horizon, two or three dayes together, prognosticate cold and snow.

Of thunders what they signifie:

Thunders in the morning, signifie wind: about noone, raine: In the evening great tempest. Some write (their ground I see not) that Sundayes thunder should bring the death of learned men, judges and others.
Mondayes thunder, the death of women.
Tuesdayes thunder, plentie of graine.
Wednesdays thunder, the death of harlots, & other bloodshed.
Thursdayes thunder, plentie of sheepe and corne.
Fridayes thunder, the slaughter of a great man, and other horrible murthers.
Saturdayes thunder, a generall pestilent plague & great death

A rule to prognosticate the weather by the falling of New yeares day:

It is affirmed of some, when New yeares day falleth on the Sunday then a pleasant Winter doth ensue: a naturall Summer: fruite sufficient: Harvest indifferent, yet some winde and raine: many marriages: plentie of wine and honey: death of young men, and cattell: robberies in most places: newes of Prelates, of Kings: and cruell warres in the end.

On Munday, a Winter some what uncomfortable: Summer temperate: no plentie of fruite: many fancies and fables opened: ages shall raigne: Kings and many others shall dye: Marriages shall be in most places: and a common fall of Gentlemen.

On Tuesday, a stormy Winter: a wet Summer: a divers Harvest: corne and fruite indifferent, yet hearbes in gardens shall not flourish: great sicknesse of men, women, and young children. Beasts shall hunger starve, and dye of the botch: many Shippes, Gallies and Hulkes shall be lost: And the bloodie Flixes shall kill many men: All things deare, save corne.

On Wednesday, Lo a warme winter: In the end Snow and frost: a clowdie Summer, plentie of fruite, of Corne, Hay, Wine and Honey: great paine to women with childe, and death to infants: good for sheepe: newes of Kings: great warres, battell and slaughter toward the middest.

On Thursday, Winter and Summer windie: A rainie Harvest: Therefore we shall have overflowings. Much fruite: plentie of honey: yet flesh shall be deare: cattell in generall shall dye: great trouble, warres, &tc with a licencious life of the feminine sexe.

On Friday, Winter stormie: Summer scant pleasant: Harvest indifferent: little store of fruite, of wine and honey: corne deare: many bleare eyes: youth shall dye: Earthquakes are perceived in many places: plentie of thunders, lightnings, and tempests: with a sudden death of cattell.

On Saturday, a meane Winter: Summer very hot: a late Harvest: good cheape garden hearbs: much burning: plenty of Hempe, Flaxe, and honey. Olde folke shall dye in most places: Fevers and Tercians shall grieve many people: great muttering of warres: murthers shall be suddenly committed in many places for light matters.

And finally, a note on the 33 evil days to avoid each year. I love the monthly advice.

The yeare hath 33 evill dayes generall for ever:

January hath eight such dayes: the first, the second, the fourth, the fifth, the tenth, the fifteenth, the seventeenth, the nineteenth. Drinke white wine in this moneth.

February hath three daies· the 8th the 10th  the 17th. These not so evil: the 26th, the 27th, the 28th. Eate no pottage of Oakes, or Mallowes: they are venomous.

March three daies: the 15th, the 26th, the 19th.  This not so evill: 28th. This moneth all sweete meates are good.

Aprill two daies: the 16th, the 21st.. These not so evill: the 7th, the 8th, the 10th, the 20th. Use hot meates, of light digestion.

May three daies: the 7th. 15th, the 20th. These not so evill: the 3rd, the 6th. Rise early, and use breakfast.

June two: the 4th and the 7th. These not so evill, the 10th, the 15th, the 22nd. Sage and Lettise are good to eate. Colde water fasting hurteth not.

July two dayes: the 15th and the 20th. Abstaine from carnalitie.

August two dayes: the 19th and the 20th. These not so evill: the 1st, the 29th, the 30th. It hurteth not to abstaine from pottage, and all hote meates, and drinkes of spicerie.

September two dayes: the 6th and 7th. These not so evill: the 3rd, 4th, 21st, 22nd. Eate good fruite.

October one day: the 6th. These not so evill: the 3rd, 16th, 24th. Good wine is wholesome this moneth.

November two dayes: the 15th, the 19th. These not so evill: the 5th, 6th, 28th, 29th. Bleede not.

December three dayes: the 6th, 7th, 9th. These dayes not so evill: the 15th, 17th, 22nd. Bleede not over much. Warme not thy legges at the fire.

© 2009-2013 All Rights Reserved
London Weather

The air was more severely piercing than ever

These fragments come from an account of a terrible cold snap in the winter of 1683. The author begins by recounting some of the more infamous frosts experienced in England, and then goes on to provide an interesting account of how Londoners are coping with the freezing conditions of 1683.

In the reign of King Edward the Third, a frost lasted from the midst of September to the month of April, and a great part of the time with great violence. In the 15th year of the reign of King Henry the Eighth, after great rains and winds, there followed so sore a frost, that many dyed for cold, and some lost fingers, some toes, and many their nails. In the seventh year of Queen Elizabeth, on the 21st of December, began a frost so extreme, that on New-Years-Eve, people passed over the Thames on foot. Some played at Football, some shot at Pricks, as if it had been firm ground. Yet the great frost, the third of January at night, began to thaw, and by the fifth day, there was no ice at all to be seen, which sudden thaw, caused great inundations. In the sixth year of the reign of King James the First, 1608, a frost began in December, which continued till April following, with such violence, that not only the Thames was so frozen that carts loaden were driven over as on dry land, but many fowls and birds perished; as also much herbage in gardens, especially Artichoaks and Rosemary were destroyed. In the ninth year of the reign of King Henry the Fourth, there was so sharp a winter, and so great a frost, with such abundance of snow, continuing December, January, February, and March, that great quantities of cattle and large fowl died, and almost all small birds perished through hunger.

About the midst of December 1683, at first by mean and ordinary degrees, but towards Christmas, came a sharp frost. The first week of January the river Thames was so frozen that people began to walk over. On Monday January the 7th, on the change of the moon, there were expectations, and some likelyhood of a thaw; but presently after, it froze more violently, and on the 10th and 11th in the morning, a coach plied between the Temple and the Old Barge house. Yet towards night on the 11th it thawed a little, and the 12th and 13th was fine gentle weather, yet not much thawing, the wind continuing still at north-east. On the 13th, it froze again briskly, till the 17th, when a great snow fell. The 18th came high, most sharp, and piercing winds, and on the 23rd the air was more severely piercing than ever and more snow fell. And being the first day of the Term, coaches plied at the Temple Staires, and carried the lawyers to Westminster on the ice. A kind of a fair was kept there on the river, called Blanket-Fair, from the numerous company of blankets used to cover huts or tents, where both men, women, and children, horses, carts and coaches, went thereon as on dry ground. Whole streets of shedds everywhere were built on the Thames, thousands passing, buying, selling, drinking and revelling (I wish I could not say on the Lords Day too) and most sorts of trade shops on the ice. Foot passengers went as thick as in any street in London.  There were also several diversions, as bull-baiting, nine-pin-playing &c. A whole oxe was roasted on the ice against Whitehall, and likewise a printing press was kept in a booth over against York Stairs, where many thousands had their names printed. All of which still continues at the writing hereof, being January the 29th 1683.

For the Frost Fair of 1608 see my post here

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Weather

If Mists arise out of Ponds

These fragments come from the mid 17th century. Written by a shepherd with over forty years of experience in judging the weather, they provide some basic guidance for reading the skies.

The sun rising red and fiery, promiseth Wind and Rain. If at the sun rising it be cloudy, and the Clouds vanish away as the sun riseth higher, it is a perfect signe of fair weather.  If the sun setteth red, it signifies fair weather. If it set in a misty muddy colour, it is a signe of rain.

If the moon be of a very clear light and not compassed with a mist, it signifies fair weather.  When the moon is compassed about with a circle, like a mighty wheel, or is dim and misty, Wind or Rain followes, or Snow speedily or within 24 hours.

If the Stars be more bright and blazing than ordinary in Summer, then it is a sign of great Winds and wet.  If in Winter they blaze or twinckle, the Wind North or East, it betokeneth great Frost. When the Stars are seen to shoot or fall, it signifies great Winds and Rain.

If the Clouds be in form and shape Round like a dapple Grey colour, and the Wind North or East, it is like to be fair-weathered two or three days after. If the Clouds appear like Rocks or Towers, is signifies great Showers.  If small Clouds grow bigger and bigger in an hour or two, it signifies a great deal of Rain.

If Mists arise out of Ponds and Rivers and there vanish away, it signifies Fair-weather.  But if from thence they arise to the Hill tops, it is likely to be rainy suddenly.  If before the Sun rising there be a general Mist that is in both Hills and Dales near the Full Moon, it signifies Fair weather.  But if such a Mist be in the New of the Moon, it signifies rain in the old of the Moon.

If after a long drought the Rain-bowe appears, it signifies rain.  But if it appear after a long time of rain it signifies Fair weather. If two Rain-bowes appear together, it signifies fair for the present, and rain two or three dayes after.

© 2009-2012 All Rights Reserved

Death Weather

Circles fringed about the moon

Given it’s currently hurricane season I thought these fragments from the 1630s on hurricane activity in the Caribbean might prove interesting.

The Indians doe call it Hurri Cano, or Hurri Caenae, or Cani: some say that it comes to the same place once in five yeares, but that is uncertaine, for it hath no certaine or set times of either yeares or dayes for the comming of it. It is held by the Natives to be a Spirit, it comes with such an extraordinary violence, with Thunder, Lightning, and impetuous gusts of winde, (as it hath done many times) for it touches not all places there, but sometimes it comes but once, or never in a mans age to one place. The Indians are so skilfull, that they doe know two or three or foure dayes before hand of the comming of it, and then they doe make provision to prevent the harme which it may doe unto them. They doe observe that just so many daies as it will be before the Hurri Cano doth come, so many Circles will bee as it were fringed and gleaming about the Moone: as if it bee but one day before it come, then there will be but one Circle; if two Circles, then it wil be two daies; and so perhaps three or foure Circles, as it did lately at Saint Christophers, where it came in that fearefull and unresistable fury, on the fifth day of August last, 1638. Where, although that the Dutch and English had warning of the comming of it, by the knowledge that the Indians had by observation of the Moone and the Circles, and that all possible meanes was used for the safeguard of men ships, and goods, yet when it came, the force of it was so great, and continued so vehemently the space of foure dayes and nights without intermission, that maugre all the industry that could be, it sunke five Shipps, whereof two were English, and three were Dutch; and of Englishmen, Dutchmen, and Indians, it did drowne and kill to the number of Seventy and five persons, besides the harme it did to many Houses and goods.

Where the Here or Hurri Cano comes, the Winde doth blow so strong and forcible, that it will puffe men from the ground into the Aire five or sixe foote high, as if they were no more but ragges, clouts, or feathers; and so violent it is, that it leaves not a leaf upon any Bough or Tree: and likewise it overthroweth many Trees, rending them up by the roots, so that the Inhabitants (when they are warned of the comming of the Hurri Cano by the Circles about the Moone) they doe lop off the limbes and great heads off from the Trees, because the violent and outragious Tempest of the tempestuous Windes shall have the lesse force and power to overturne them; and especially those Trees which they doe intend to preserve and keepe for bearing of fruite, they doe commonly cut off, and graffe them againe by our English advice.

The people all of them forsake their Houses, as not daring to remaine in them for feare that they should be blown down about their eares; at which dangerous times they do creep for safety into holes Caves, pits, Dens and hollow places of the earth, which are either naturall of themselves, or digged and framed by Art or laborious industry of man, which places are good harbours and defences against the Hurry-Cano. They doe likewise tye or make fast Hamackoes or hanging Cabin unto two Trees that are lopy’d, and then the people do get into those Cabins, & so they do lye downe in them, being hang’d above the ground sixe or seaven foot, eyther with strong Ropes or iron chaines; and so they swing two and againe like a Bell when it is rung, when this tempest is; their Hamackoes are made either of course linnin cloath, or of strong stuffe made of twisted threads spun out of the rindes of trees; some who have not these Cabins, do for feare bind themselves with cords, singlely or severally to divers trees, and so they do remaine bound untill the fury of the Hurry-Cano is past.
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