Michael Fish has spent decades talking weather to the nation, and now he's willing to debunk some of the most popular myths about the British forecasts.
Red sky at night - shepherds' delight?
Now, in his new role as Mountain Warehouse consultant meteorologist, Michael has examined lots of weather lore and now reveals if there is, in fact, any truth to some of our most established beliefs.
Do cows lie down when it's about to rain?
According to the retailer's commissioned research, almost of a third of Brits surveyed believe this to be true. Michael says, "Cows lying down simply means they’re tired! I have however noticed seagulls often fly inland ahead of stormy weather. Perhaps they can detect the rapidly falling pressure.”
Can trees and bees be used to predict the weather?
93% of us don't know this, but Michael reveals, “Trees can be used to make a forecast in many ways. When trees show the underside of their leaves, giving a much lighter appearance than usual, it is a sure sign of rain. The phenomenon is caused by the humidity increasing and softening the stalks of the leaves, causing them to turn over.”
Michael Fish thinks it prudent to pack an umbrella for most occasions
Wind in the east, 'tis neither good for man nor beast - True or false?
90% of the UK don't believe in this age-old saying but, according to Michael, this myth is actually fact. “Our coldest weather in the winter comes from the East, even as far away as Siberia. Temperatures often remain below freezing day and night.”
If bees stay at home rain will soon come: if they fly away, fine will be the day - True or false?
94% of those surveyed believe this to be false, but Michael confirms this ancient fable to be accurate. Bees sense the humidity in the air and will stay in their hive if they predict rain coming.
Lightning never strikes the same place twice - True or false?
88% of Brits correctly believe this to be a false belief. And Michael confirms, “Oh yes it does, I’ve seen it.”
Red sky at night, shepherd's delight, red sky in the morning, shepherd's warning - True or false?
More than half of Brits trust this one to be true, but Michael Fish says it's all a bit more complicated than that.
"This is based on a passage of weather fronts around a cyclone. The high cloud on the advancing warm front catches the rays of the rising sun and looks red due to the scattering of the sun’s rays. The rain follows.
"Similarly, if the timing is right, as the rain clears the following cold front, cloud could be caught by the setting sun and turn red.”
So not every red sky at night guarantees a sunny day after. If you're in the UK, best play safe and pack your brollie for all events.
Michael Fish is the new Meteorological Consultant for outdoor clothing retailer Mountain Warehouse.