When you go on long adventure getaway on the backcountry for some mountain climbing or camping, the weather can get quite unpredictable. Being in an isolated location, the weather forecast is not a button away. You do not have the internet or your smart phone to tell you that rains will come or it will be really a hot day. All you can rely on are the clues given by mother nature herself.

Here are some tips on how to read the clues the weather gods send your way:

No morning dew

When you wake up and see no morning dew on your tent or vegetation around you, look up and most probably you will see clouds forming. Thru the hours these clouds might build up until they get heavy and pour some rain shower. If you see dew in the morning, you cant expect rain thru the day.

Red sky at sunrise

Sunrise and red sky means good weather in the east and a low pressure weather system building on the west which means rain. Weather systems mostly go from east to west so most likely rain clouds will be heading your way. When you see red skies on the west during sunset, this also means bad weather that may be blown towards where you are holding camp.

Strong smell in the air

You know that smell before the rain? It actually comes from plants that release their wastes onto the air. It could smell pungent bad or it could smell good. But definitely the strong smell is the the advance party of the rain drops coming.

Bad hair day

It is just not you having a bad hair day, the skies might be throwing a tantrum on that day too. The dry hair is caused by the humidity on a dry day. The bad hair day also is a good warning that a storm may be forming.

Bumper like clouds

When you look up and the big thick clouds look confused and behaving like bumper cars, expect bad weather with high probability of hail coming your way. Swirling cloud formations are also a good hint of tornado. By the way, even if you are a few thousand feet up a mountain, tornadoes can form in that altitude.

Fish scale and mare tail clouds

If you remember your lessons in grade school, the mare’s tales are the cirrus clouds while the fish scales are the alto-cummulus clouds. These formations tell you that bad weather may come within thirty six hours.

Low flying birds

Birds avoid bad weather systems so they fly flow when there is a prevailing low pressure or bad weather system. Normally they fly high so it is a warning when the birds in the area are flying lower than usual.

Ringed moon

When you see a ring around the moon, this is caused by light passing through the clouds high in the atmosphere. This is also means bad weather that may come in three days time.

Now, remember that predicting the weather is not an exact science. These are just common signals you will see while you are spending some time at the backcountry, and might help when you can not rely on any technology and surviving is your only choice.



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