Look up! No, not up from your phones (well, maybe that too), up to the sky. It might be telling you about impending weather changes or extreme meteorological events you want to prepare for. Not so fluent in sky language? Allow us to tell you about some sky signs that might prove useful. You know, with global warming and everything.
What do you do if you see a long streak of rotating clouds in the sky? You get indoors, that’s what you do. These are the first signs of a large thunderstorm, or even worse, a tornado. Get indoors immediately and make your way to the basement just in case.
These streaks are called “inflow bands” and they indicate that the storm is drawing in low-level air from a long distance. These clouds typically stretch to the southeast or south of the storm and are usually low in the sky. Professional storm spotters (yes, that’s a thing) keep an eye out for them to see if a tornado is coming. They then warn people who reside in that area to stay away from windows and get to the lowest level in their homes.
When the sky turns green it means a thunderstorm is brewing. The sky can turn green because the sun’s red light is intermingling with the blue light under the storm. The color means that the thundercloud is very large and is a warning that a tornado or hailstorm may be coming soon.
If you ever find under a green sky, do anything you can to out something in between that sky and yourself (i.e. find cover) as soon as possible. You don’t want to get caught in a storm like that. If the storm turns into a tornado, try to find a basement and get below ground. Keep an eye on the news to see when it’s safe to go back outside. It’s not like you’ll be able to look at the sky from your basement.
Unlike funnel cakes, which are pure joy, funnel clouds are to be feared. These cone-shaped clouds protrude out of storms but don’t reach the ground. If that cloud is rotating, there is a good possibility that it could turn into a tornado.
When and if the funnel cloud touches the ground, it has now become a tornado. Cold air funnels are not typically threatening, but funnel clouds formed from warm air are the ones to watch out for.
Laying on the grass and watching the clouds sounds like a great sunny-day pastime. Spotting clouds that sit lower than the rest and forming a wall (thunderstorms can be up to five miles long) means you should get off the grass and run back home.
A wall cloud is formed when the air rises quickly and the pressure blow starts to drop. When the cloud begins to rotate, it could mean that a destructive tornado is about to tear apart everything in its path. We’ve probably all seen The Wizard of Oz, and we know what happens when there’s a tornado involved.
Red skies don’t necessarily mean the underworld has taken over. The red color comes from the sun reflecting off water vapor and dust particles in the air, which can indicate the weather. Just like in the saying “Red sky at night — sailor’s delight. Red sky in the morning — sailor’s warning”.
The timing of the red sky can predict upcoming weather. Red night skies mean that nice weather is coming because the dust particles usually indicate a high-pressure system. If the sky is red at sunrise it may mean that the good weather is about to pass, and a storm is coming in from the west.