Charts & Graphs

Making It Rain

Not-so-scientific weather predictions.

  • Karen Smith from the movie Mean Girls. My breasts can always tell when it’s gonna rain. Well, they can tell when it’s raining.

    —Karen Smith in the film Mean Girls, 2004

  • A page from Works and Days by Hesiod. When the Pleiades plunge into the misty sea to escape Orion’s rude strength, then truly gales of all kinds rage.

    Hesiod in his Works and Days, eighth century bc

  • A Babylonian omen tablet. If the storm god Adad thunders at sunrise, on that day rain will fall, the weather will be bad.” Alternatively, “showers will come and then cease. There will be sick people in the land.

    —Babylonian omen tablet, second millennium bc

  • A red moon. When the sky has a reddish appearance before sunrise, this indicates rain within three days, if not on that very day,” but “if the moon looks fiery, it indicates breezy weather for that month.

    —Greek treatise On Weather Signs, third century bc

  • A black and white photograph of Louise Pound. I heard several well-educated persons remark, during the rainy spring of 1945, ‘Surely the war in Europe must have had something to do with our unusual rainfall.’ 

    —philologist Louise Pound, 1946

  • A rooster. When the rooster crows on the dunghill, the weather will change or stay as it is.

    —German mock proverb, nineteenth century

  • A bottle of Gold Bond medicated powder. If your rear itches, there will be rain on the morrow.

    —Japanese American proverb recorded in Los Angeles, 1962

  • Cover of the 2015 Old Farmer's Almanac. I have always heard that if it rains on Monday, it will rain three days that week. I have found that to be pretty much true, and I am sixty-six.

    —reader comment on The Old Farmer’s Almanac website, 2015

  • A kitten. It’s gyain t’be rain; the cat’s washin’ her face.

    —Scottish proverb

  • A painting of a woman brushing her long red hair. I know ladies by the score / Whose hair, like seaweed, scents the storm; / Long, long before it starts to pour / Their locks assume a baneful form.

    —William Jackson Humphreys, 1923

  • Half of an onion. To determine the general condition of the weather for each month of the year,” let twelve salted onion halves sit out for twelve days. “The months of the respective halves in which the salt is all dissolved will be wet, while the months of the halves in which the salt is undissolved will be dry.

    The Pennsylvania-German magazine, 1904