Tag Archives: Ozark weather

Weathervane Forecasting

Modern weathervanes come in lots of fancy shapes for decorating roofs. Before modern weather reports weathervane forecasting was the main reason for this roof adornment.

Several years ago we worked on the house roof and added a small cupola over the garage and dormers over the main house to improve the looks of the house. The cupola was a perfect place for a weathervane.

The key to weathervane forecasting begins with careful alignment of it to the points of the compass. Next comes careful observation.

warm weather weathervane forecasting
The weathervane arrow is pointing south. This usually means warmer weather is blowing in. Warm and cold are relative terms as 60 degrees in August is cold and warm in February.

We didn’t expect much from our weathervane. The house is nestled between three hills with a valley in front of it. The hills shield the house from the wind.

Still it was interesting to note which direction the wind was coming from. Patterns began to emerge.

The expectation was for cold winds to come from the north and warm winds from the south. Most of our big storms come from the west.

Observations showed the winds rarely came from true north or south. This past winter the warmer winds came primarily from southeast and colder winds from the southwest.

cold weather weathervane forecasting
Get out the coats. The wind is out of the northwest and has ice in its teeth. The weathervane arrow gives the wind direction. The larger tail catches the wind turning the arrow.

When really cold temperatures started coming in, they came from the west veering to the northwest. Frigid temperatures did pour down from the north.

I’ve gotten into the habit of doing some weathervane forecasting. On days the radio forecast tells a change is coming in, I note the wind direction. When the direction changes, the temperatures change a short time later.

The radio isn’t great for forecasts as they assume most people watch television. We don’t. Weathervane forecasting works for quick notes and to see the trend for the day.

Our April snow came in on a northwest wind. It’s leaving with a southeast wind. My garden, goats, chicks and I are hoping the southeast wind will blow for many more days.

Nature observations can lead to creating poetry like haikus found in “My Ozark Home” now available as a free download for a limited time.

First Flood Starts New Year

Every year seems to have its own weather characteristics. Last year had no big floods. This year the first flood has already been here.

Usually it takes six inches of rain to trigger a flood. That has changed and this first flood is the new kind that drops its two inches in a short time, faster than ground already soaked with over an inch the day before could absorb.

Previously a flood would last for several days as there was so much more water. These newer floods rise up quickly and drop almost as fast. They do more damage too.

remnants of first flood
The flood hit before dawn filling the flood plain. By mid afternoon the creek was down but snow was lining the banks. Winter seems to be moving into the Ozarks.

This first flood of the new year left lots of debris around as the water went up into the edges of the pastures. Leaves, branches, sand and gravel line the high water mark.

There is a good point about this storm. It was rain. We cleared bridge and culverts and fence as the air got colder.

Snow arrived that afternoon. The ground melted the snow as it landed for a time, but the temperatures kept falling. Big clumps of flakes piled up an inch. There was no wind.

Strangely each January weather patterns seem to change and set the tone for the coming year. The last few years have been very windy. This year might be calmer in the Ozarks.

first snowfall of the new year
Snowfall is really hard to get a picture of. Flakes are too small. This first snowfall began with huge clumps of flakes falling thickly. Such a snowfall is usually of short duration as this one was. The large clumps gave way to small flakes a few minutes after this picture was taken.

Last year there were no floods. The first flood has arrived. How many more will there be this year?

Some patterns seem to be continuing. Rain comes in downpours. Clouds hang around for days. Winters in the Ozarks continue to be warmer.

I’m sure other parts of the country work differently. One dividing line seems to be the Hwy 44 corridor. Weather is colder north of there. Somewhere south of here is the dividing line for the severe thunderstorms.

The Ozarks does get some of that weather, but much of it misses us in recent years. That is one pattern I don’t want to see change.