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Title: Reading the Weather
Author: Longstreth, Thomas Morris
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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_Courtesy of Richard F. Warren_]




Illustrated with Photographs by Richard F. Warren

Outing Handbooks
Number 43

New York
Outing Publishing Company

Copyright, 1915, by
Outing Publishing Company
All rights reserved.

  with love, to my grandmother
  herself responsible for so
  much sunshine.


  CHAPTER                                           PAGE

  FORECAST                                             i

     I OUR WELL-ORDERED ATMOSPHERE                    11

    II THE CLEAR DAY                                  20

   III THE STORM CYCLE                                42

    IV SKY SIGNS FOR CAMPERS                          64
       THE CLOUDS                                     65
       THE WINDS                                      76
       TEMPERATURES                                   86
       RAIN AND SNOW                                  99
       DEW AND FROST                                 112
       THE THUNDERSTORM EXPOSED                      116
       THE TORNADO                                   129
       THE HURRICANE                                 133
       THE CLOUDBURST                                139
       THE HALO                                      140

     V THE BAROMETER                                 147

    VI THE SEASONS                                   157

   VII THE WEATHER BUREAU                            167

  VIII A CHAPTER OF EXPLOSIONS                       175
       CONDENSATIONS                                 185
       SIGNS OF FAIR WEATHER                         185
       SIGNS OF COMING STORM                         187
       SIGNS OF CLEARING                             189
       WHEN WILL IT RAIN?                            190
       SIGNS OF TEMPERATURE CHANGE                   191
       SOME UNSOLVED WEATHER PROBLEMS                192
       WHAT THE WEATHER FLAGS MEAN                   193


    Shower Behind Valley Forge            _Frontispiece_


    Cirrus Deepening to Cirro-Stratus                 16

    Cirro Stratus with Cirro-Cumulus Beneath          32

    Cirro-Cumulus to Alto-Stratus                     48

    Alto-Stratus                                      80

    Cumulus                                           96

    Stratus                                          128

    Nimbus                                           160


Science is certainly coming into her own nowadays,--and into everybody
else's. Every activity of man and most of Nature's have felt her
quickening hand. Her eye is upon the rest. Drinking is going out because
the drinker is inefficient. The fly is going out because he carries germs.
And for everything that goes out something else comes in that makes people
healthier and more comfortable, and, perhaps, wiser.

One strange thing about this flood-tide of science is that it overwhelms
the old, buttressed superstitions the easiest of all, once it really sets
about it. For instance, nothing could have been better fortified for
centuries than the fact that night air is injurious and should be shut out
of house. Then, science turned its eye upon night air, found it a little
cooler, a trifle moister, and somewhat cleaner than day air with the
result that we all invite it indoors, now, and even go out to meet it.

Once interested in the air, science soon began to take up that
commonplace but baffling phase of it called the weather. Now, of all
matters under the sun the weather was the deepest intrenched in
superstition and hearsay. From the era of Noah it had been made the
subject of more remarks unrelieved by common sense than any other. It was
at once the commonest topic for conversation and the rarest for thought.
Considering the opportunities for study of the weather this conclusion, we
must admit, is more surprising than complimentary to the human race. But
it is so. The fact that science had to face was this: that the weather had
been and remained a tremendous, dimly-recognized factor in our level of
living. So talk about it all must. And science set about finding some easy
fundamental truths to talk instead of the hereditary gossip about
old-fashioned winters or the usual meaningless conversational coin.

Two groups of men had always known a good deal about the weather from
experience: the sailor had to know it to save his life, and the farmer had
to cultivate a weather eye along with his early peas. But the ordinary
business man (and wife), the town-dweller, and even the suburbanite knew
so few of the proven facts that the weather from day to day, from hour to
hour, was a continual puzzle to them. The rain not only fell upon the
just and unjust but it fell unquestioned, or misunderstood.

At last Science established some sort of a Weather Bureau in 1870, in our
country, and after this had triumphed over great handicaps, the Government
set it upon its present footing in 1891. An intelligent interest in the
weather was in likelihood of being aroused by maps, pamphlets, frost and
flood warnings that saved dollars and lives. Then suddenly, or almost
suddenly, a new force was felt in every community. It was the call of
outdoors. The new land of woods and lakes was explored. Men learned that
living by bread alone (without air) made a very stuffy existence. Hence
the man in town opened all his windows at night, the suburban majority
planned to build sleeping porches, the youngsters begged to go to camp,
their fathers went hunting and fishing in increasing numbers, and, most
important of all, the fathers' wives began to accompany them into the

Thus, living has been turned inside out,--the very state of things that
old scientist Plato recommended some thirty thousand moons ago. And among
the manifestations of nature the weather is holding its place, important
and even fascinating. For the person who most depends on umbrellas and the
subway in the city needs to watch the sky most carefully in the woods.
That old academic question as to whether it be wise or foolish to come in
out of the wet was never settled by the wilderness veteran. The veteran's
wife settles it very quickly. She considers the cloud. When the commuter
goes camping he rightly likes his comforts. A wet skin is not one of
these. Therefore he studies the feel of the wind.

And so it comes about that the person who talks about storm centers and
areas of high pressure and cumulus clouds is no longer regarded as
slightly unhinged. Men are eager to learn the laws of the snowstorm and
the cold wave; for, with the knowledge that snow is not poison and cold
not necessarily discomfort, January has been opened up for enjoyments that
July could never give.

Bookwriting and camping are both explained by the same fact,--a certain
fondness for the thing. I wanted to see the commoner weather pinned down
to facts. The following chapters resulted. They constitute a sort of
Overhead Baedeker, it being their pleasure to show up the sureties of the
sun and rain and to star the weather signs that can be relied upon. For,
after all, even the elements, although unruled, are law-abiding.




If there is anything that has been overlooked more than another it is our
atmosphere. But it absolutely cannot be avoided--in books on the weather.
It deserves a chapter, anyway, because if it were not for the atmosphere
this earth of ours would be a wizened and sterile lump. It would float
uselessly about in the general cosmos like the moon.

To be sure the earth does not loom very large in the eye of the sun. It
receives a positively trifling fraction of the total output of sunheat. So
negligible is this amount that it would not be worth our mentioning if we
did not owe our existence to it. It is thanks to the atmosphere, however,
that the earth attains this (borrowed) importance. It is thanks to this
thin layer of gases that we are protected from that fraction of sunheat
which, however trifling when compared with the whole, would otherwise be
sufficient to fry us all in a second. Without this gas wrapping we would
all freeze (if still unfried) immediately after sunset. The atmosphere
keeps us in a sort of thermos globe, unmindful of the burning power of the
great star, and of the uncalculated cold of outer space.

Yet, limitless as it seems to us and inexhaustible, our invaluable
atmosphere is a small thing after all. Half of its total bulk is
compressed into the first three and a half miles upward. Only one
sixty-fourth of it lies above the twenty-one mile limit. Compared with the
thickness of the earth this makes a very thin envelope.

Light as air, we say, forgetting that this stuff that looks so thin and
inconsequential weighs fifteen pounds to the square inch. We walk around
carrying our fourteen tons gaily enough. The only reason that we don't
grumble is because the gases press evenly in all directions permeating our
tissues and thereby supporting this crushing burden. A layer of water
thirty-four feet thick weighs just about as much as this air-pack under
which we feel so buoyant. But if these gases get in motion we feel their
pressure. We say the wind is strong to-day.

As it blows along the surface of the earth this wind is mostly nitrogen,
oxygen, moisture, and dust. The nitrogen occupies nearly eight-tenths of a
given bulk of air, the oxygen two-tenths, and the moisture anything up to
one-twentieth. Five other gases are present in small quantities. The dust
and the water vapor occupy space independently of the rest. As one goes up
mountains the water vapor increases for a couple of thousand feet and then
decreases to the seven mile limit after which it has almost completely
vanished. The lightest gases have been detected as high up as two hundred
miles and scientists think that hydrogen, the lightest of all, may escape
altogether from the restraint of gravity. One strange fact about all of
these gases is that they do not form a separate chemical combination,
although they are thoroughly mixed.

At first glance the extreme readiness of the atmosphere to carry dust and
bacteria does not seem a point in its favor. In reality it is. Most
bacteria are really allies of the human race. They benefit us by producing
fermentations and disintegrations of soils that prepare them for plant
food. It is a pity that the few disease breeding types of bacteria should
have given the family a bad name. Without bacteria the sheltering
atmosphere would have nothing but desert rock to protect.

Further, rain is accounted for only by the dust. Of course this sounds
very near the world's record in absurdities. But it is a half truth at
least, for moisture cannot condense on nothing. Every drop of rain, every
globule of mist must have a nucleus. Consequently each wind that blows,
each volcano that erupts is laying up dust for a rainy day. Apparently the
atmosphere is empty. Actually it is full enough of dust-nuclei to outfit a
fullgrown fog if the dewpoint should be favorable. If there were no dust
in the air all shadows would be intensest black, the sunlight blinding.

But the dust particles fulfill their greatest mission as heat
collectors,--they and the particles of water vapor which have embraced
them. It is in reality owing to these water globules and not to the
atmosphere that supports them that we are enabled to live in such
comfortable temperatures. For the air strata above seven miles where the
tides of oxygen and nitrogen have rid themselves of water and dust absorb
very little of the solar radiation. The heat is grabbed by the lowest
layer of air as it goes by. The air snatches it both going and coming. The
little particles get about half of it on the way down and when it is
radiated back very little escapes them.

So it comes about that the heavy moist air near the earth is the warmest
of all. It would, of course, get very warm if, as it collected its heat,
it didn't have a tendency to rise. As it rises, moreover, it must fight
gravity, that arch enemy of all rising things. And as it fights it loses
energy, which is heat. So high altitudes and low temperatures are found
together for these two reasons. But after the limit of moisture content
has been reached the temperature gets no lower according to reliable
investigations. Instead a monotony of 459° below zero eternally
prevails--459° is called the absolute zero of space.

The vertical heating arrangements of the atmosphere appear somewhat
irregular. But horizontally it is in a much worse way. The surface of the
globe is three quarters water and one quarter land and irregularly
arranged at that. The shiny water surfaces reflect a good deal of the heat
which they receive, they use up the heat in evaporation and what they do
absorb penetrates far. The land surfaces, on the contrary, absorb most of
the heat received, but it does not penetrate to any depth. As a
consequence of these differences land warms up about four times as
quickly as water and cools off about four times as fast. Therefore the
temperature of air over continents is liable to much more rapid and
extreme changes than the air over the oceans.

The disparity of temperature is also rendered much greater because of
differing areas of cloud and clear skies, because of interfering mountain
masses, because of the change from day to night, or the constant progress
of the seasons. At first blush it seems remarkable that the atmosphere
should not be hopelessly unsettled in its habits, that there should belong
to it any hint of system. As a matter of fact, in the main its courses are
as well-ordered as the sun's. Cause and not caprice are at the bottom of
the wind's listings. Its one desire is rest.


_Courtesy of Richard F. Warren_

Cirrus clouds first appear as feathery lines converging toward one or two
points on the horizon, often merging into bands of darker clouds, arranged
horizontally. A sky like this appears when there is little wind. If the
wind shifts to an easterly direction by way of north there will likely be
snow within 24 hours; if it works around by way of the southwest and south
36 hours will probably pass before rain. If the mares' tails, as here, are
absent and yet the stratified clouds are present there is little
likelihood of a storm. Cirrus clouds precede every disturbance of
magnitude. Sometimes they are hidden by a lower cloud layer.]

But rest it rarely succeeds in finding. Forever warming, rising, cooling,
falling, it rushes about to regain its equilibrium. With so many opposing
forces at work the calm day is the real marvel, our weeks of Indian Summer
the ranking miracle of our climate. The very evolution of the myriad
patches of air quilted over the earth with their different opportunities
to become heated, to cool their heels, precludes stability in our so
called Temperate Zone. But over great stretches of the earth's surface
conditions are continuous enough to discipline the atmosphere into
strict routine. Conjure the globe before your eyes and you will find the
scheme of atmospheric circulation something like this:

A broad band of heated air perpetually rises from the sweltering
equatorial belt of lands and seas. The supply never ceases, the warming
process goes on night and day, and to a great height the light warm
incense mounts. Then, cooling, from this altitude it begins to run down
hill toward the poles. This is happening all the way around the globe. So
naturally the common centers, the poles, cannot accommodate all this
downrush of air. Therefore as it approaches the goal it falls into a
majestic file about the center, very much as water does in running out of
a hole in the center of a circular basin. The nearer north, the cooler
this vast maelstrom grows and the nearer has it sunk to the earth. It
descends circuitously and, by the force arising from the earth's rotation,
is sheered to the right in the northern hemisphere, to the left in the

Watching the water circle out of the basin you will notice the outside
whirl is in no hurry to get to the center. This corresponds to the
easterly trades of commerce, geography, and fiction. The direction of the
upper currents flowing back to the poles is from southwest to northeast;
but in our middle zones this becomes almost from west to east, is constant
and is known to the profession as the prevailing westerlies.

Look up some day when wisps of clouds are floating very high. You will
notice that their port is in the east, mattering not what wind may be
blowing where you are. They are above the petty disturbances of the
shallow surface winds. They follow a Gulf Stream of immeasurable grandeur.
Onward, always onward, they sail, emblems of a great serenity.

Beneath this vast drift of air, which increases in velocity as it nears
the pole, is an undertow from two to three miles thick. It is the
movements of this undertow that affect our lives. These movements are
influenced by all the changes of temperature and by the configurations of
land. They take the form of whirls. These whirls may be small eddies,
local in effect, or vast cyclones with diameters of fifteen hundred miles.
Small or large they roll along under the Westerlies, translated by
friction, and invariably moving for most of their course in an easterly
direction, like their tractor above. They circle across the United States
every few days. Their courses do not vary a great deal, and yet enough to
make each one a matter for conjecture. And all the conjecturing centers
upon the condition of the atmosphere,--the changing atmosphere which is
yet so dependable.

The weather we are used to, the daily weather that catches us unprepared,
and yet that does not mistreat us all the time is the product of these
little whirls, which are so remotely connected with the grander
atmospheric movements of our planet. Remembering this, we can at last come
back to earth and set about our real business which is to see why certain
kinds of weather come at such uncertain times and how to tell when they
will arrive.



We owe our fair weather to that department of atmospheric activity called
anticyclone by the weatherman. The anticyclone is an accumulation of air
which has become colder than the air surrounding it. This accumulation
oftener than not has an area near the center where the air is coldest.
About this coldest area the air currents revolve in the direction of a
clock's hands. And since this cold air is contracted and denser than its
warmer environment it has a perpetual tendency to whirl outward from the
center into this warmer environment.

One comes to think, therefore, of the anticyclone as a huge pyramid of
cold air moving slowly across the country from west to east and all the
while melting down on all sides, like a plate of ice-cream, into the
surrounding territory. It is such an immense accumulation that often while
its head is reared over Montana the first shivers of its approach are
beginning to be felt in Texas and Pennsylvania. It does not extend
equally far, however, to the north and west of its head, which is really
sometimes where its tail ought to be. That is, a long slope of increasing
pressure and cold will sweep in a gentle gradient from Pennsylvania to
Montana and will then decrease by a very steep gradient to the Pacific

The anticyclone draws its power from the inexhaustible supplies of cold
air from the upper levels. This air is very dry and accounts for the
almost invariably clear skies of the anticyclone.

In winter when the intensity of all the atmospheric activities is greatly
increased, the anticyclone develops into the cold wave. The rapidly rising
pressure rears its head and rushes along upon the heels of a storm like a
vast tidal wave at sixty miles an hour, tumbling the mercury thirty,
forty, fifty degrees.

These cold waves first appear in the northwest. They cannot well originate
over either ocean and a high-pressure area building up over the southern
half of the country will not attain the sufficient degree of frigidity to
earn the title, for even cold waves have been standardized by the
Government. But although nearly all the cold waves choose Montana or the
Dakotas as a base, they have at least two definite lines of action. Those
which are born amid the mountains or on the great plains of Montana have a
curious habit of bombarding the Texas coast before starting on their
eastward march. It is not unusual for us to read of zero weather in the
Panhandle and freezing on the Gulf while the mercury may still be standing
as high as fifty in New York City.

It is this rapid onslaught from Montana to Texas that produces those
notorious blizzards of that section called northers, during which the
cattle used to be frozen on the hoof. The record time for a drive of this
extent is about twelve hours and the normal about twenty-four which gives
scant time for the Weather Bureau to warn the vast interests of the
impending assault. When the cold wave, after following this path, does
swing toward the Atlantic Coast, as most of them do, it has lost interest
and usually produces only seasonably cold weather along the Appalachians.

Those cold waves that recruit their strength in Canada and enter the
United States through Minnesota or, rarely, this side of the Lakes move
along the border and supply intensely cold weather for a night or two to
New England and the Middle Atlantic States.

Cold waves almost always follow a storm. The storm, being an area of low
pressure makes a fit receptacle for the surplus of the high pressure, and
since the whole business of the weather is to seek peace and pursue it,
the greater the discrepancies the more violent the pursuit. Consequently
we have the spectacle of a ridge of cold dry air following and trying to
level up a fleeing hollow of warm moist air--but rarely succeeding. This
principle of action and reaction is almost the sole principle of the
weather and is nowhere more clearly demonstrated than in the winter's
succession of storm and cold wave.

In summer the anticyclones are not only actually but relatively more
moderate than in winter. But their influence is still the same,--clear
skies, cooler nights, dry, westerly winds. During the year the anticyclone
furnishes us with about sixty per cent. of our weather. The cyclone is
responsible for the remaining forty per cent. The weather depends on the
cyclone for its variety and upon the anticyclone for its reputation. So it
is well to be able to recognize an anticyclone when one appears.

The first and most reliable symptom of the approach of an anticyclone is
the west wind. This sign is valid the country over, and is one of the
very few signs that hold true for most of the North Temperate Zone. In
summer over our country the west wind comes from the southwest, to be
Irish, and in winter from the northwest. But for nearly all of our
forty-eight states for nearly all of the year the westerly winds are those
that bring us fair days and nights. And it is these crisp, clear days and
cloudless, brilliant nights which we have in mind when we boast to English
friends of our American weather.

The west wind is so popular because it has a slight downward flowing
tendency. It also blows from land to sea over all America except the
narrow Pacific coast. These downward, outward directions allow it to
gather only enough moisture to keep it from becoming seriously dry. Its
upper sources supply it with ozone. Its density gives it weight and by its
superior weight it prevails. It dries roads faster than a brace of suns
could do it. It is tonic. And curiously enough, although the anticyclone
loads half a ton excess weight upon us we like it. The greater the burden
the more we feel like leaping and shouting. Our good cheer seems to be
ground out of us, like street pianos.

The reverse holds, too. For when the anticyclone moves off us and the
cyclone hovers over us, removing half a ton of pressure, instead of
feeling relieved we feel depressed, out of spirit. The animals share this
reaction with us. In fact barnyards antedated barometers as forecasters,
because all the domestic creatures, with pigs in particular, evidenced the
disagreeable leniency of the low pressure areas upon their persons.

    "Grumphie smells the weather
      An' Grumphie smells the wun'
    He kens when clouds will gather
      An' smoor the blinkin' sun."

The only trouble about this rather extravagant tribute to the pig,
versatile though he is, is that he can tell only a very few hours ahead
about the coming changes and it takes so much more skill to judge what his
actions mean than to read the face of the sky that the science of
meteorology finally comes to supplant barnyardology.

The coming of the anticyclone is foretold by the shifting of the wind from
any quarter to the west. The course that the center of the anticyclone is
keeping may be watched by the same agency. Since the circulation from the
cone of cold air follows the hour hands of a clock it follows that if the
center is moving north of you the wind, blowing outward from the center,
will work from west to northwest and from northwest to north and slightly
east of north.

If the wind has shifted into the west on a Wednesday, it will likely be
cold by Wednesday night and colder on Thursday. By Friday morning the wind
will be coming from the north, likely, with the lowest temperature of all.
By Saturday the cold will moderate, the wind will tire and gradually die
to a calm or become weakly variable. The four day supremacy of the
anticyclone will be over. But, mind you, there are a dozen variations of
this routine. I am only suggesting a usual one.

If after blowing two or three days from the west the wind shifts to the
southwest and south, you may know that the central cold area is passing
south of you and that its intensity will not be great. While these
anticyclones that float down and to the right of their normal path linger
longer, they are never so severely cold, nor, alas, so uniformly clear as
the others. It is a profound law of anticyclones and even more
particularly of cyclones, that if they deviate to the right they weaken,
if they are pushed by an obstacle to the left they increase greatly in

Occasionally the central portion of an anticyclone passes over your
locality. Then the wind will fall. The frost will be keen and the cold
will be notably dry and invigorating. In summer although the sunlight may
be powerfully bright and the heat great, yet the air will have a buoyant
effect, the body a resilience. And the nights will cool swiftly. Soon
after the center passes from the locality a wind will spring up from the
east with rapidly rising temperature and increased humidity.

The coldest part of the anticyclone is not, as one would suppose, at the
center, but in advance of it; and its authority, like a schoolmaster's, is
rapidly dissipated after its back is turned upon a place.

The intensity of an anticyclone is measured by its wind velocity and by
the degree of cold obtaining under its influence. But the greatest cold
occurs rarely in conjunction with the greatest velocity of the wind. The
calms that occur at sunrise enable radiation to take an extra spurt which
pushes the mercury lower by a degree or so than happens when the wind is
blowing. But, windy or calm, the period about sunrise is normally the
coldest of the day, even extending in midwinter for as much as half an
hour after sunrise, so slow are the feeble rays at restoring the balance
of loss and gain of heat.

The greatest falls occur at the advent of the cold wave, no matter whether
it arrives at ten in the morning or at midnight. If the temperature
starts to decline gradually during the day, a further and decided fall may
be expected at nightfall if the sky is clear. And if the temperature rises
gradually during the night the normal processes are being displaced and a
change from fair to foul is a surety. In summer the hottest time of day is
not at noon, any more than the coldest part of the winter day was at
midnight, for the reason that the sun can pour in its heat faster than the
earth can radiate it, and the hour for the maximum temperature is pushed
as far along toward evening as four or five or even six o'clock.

The average anticyclone continues its influence for clearness for about
four days. Some, however, hurry the whole thing through in two. Others are
interrupted by a more vigorous cyclone and are put to rout. Others are
held up by an inherent weakness and are forced to mark time over one
locality until strengthened or dissipated. And a few great ones hold sway
over the country for a week. These choose the north-center of the country
in which to locate. There they pile up the cold air until its very weight
causes it to move majestically on. Its skirts sweep the Gulf coast where
they are a bit bedraggled by invading cyclones. It gives the New
Englanders a fortnight of nipping, brisk days and the mercury in
Minnesota and the Dakotas does not emerge above zero. Once, in Montana,
one of these refrigerating systems established the record of sixty-three
degrees below zero. But in Siberia where the immense extent of the land
surface collaborates with a prolonged night, an anticyclone built up an
area of superior chilliness that left a world's record of ninety-one

In summer a succession of these highs causes the frequent droughts of
weeks which harass the West and New England. The air becomes so dry that
it parches and then shrivels the green leaves. Any little cyclones that,
under ordinary conditions, would suck in moist air from the Gulf and
relieve the situation with a rain are dried out and frustrated by the
unclouded sun. It requires a cyclone of great depth to overthrow the
supremacy of these summer anticyclones.

While the anticyclone furnishes fair weather the sky is not necessarily or
even usually free from clouds under its influence. In summer the
evaporation during the long days overloads the air for the time being.
Normally about eleven in the morning little balls and patches of white
clouds dot the blue. These increase in number and size until about three
in the afternoon when they will have grown little black bellies and
fluffy white tops. By five they will have dwindled and by eight entirely
vanished. These heaped clouds, known as cumulus, are a guarantee of a
normal atmosphere and continued fair weather. They mean that currents of
warm, moist air have risen until they have struck a level so cool as to
cause them to condense part of their moisture. This condensation sinks
until it enters a warmer stratum and the cloud is dissipated. The total
movement is a reasonable exchange that preserves the equilibrium of the
air, very much as a person bends one way and then another to maintain his

In winter there is not such an opportunity offered and the few clouds that
form because of the daily variation in temperature are flatter and are
called stratus clouds. Sometimes these stratus clouds may cover the sky at
midday, but in thin platings and not leadenly. In winter as in summer they
tend to disappear toward evening. They are often accompanied by an
unpleasant wind, but rarely by the snow flurry which is the "April shower"
of the winter months.

But when the snow flurry does come there is no better sign for the
woodsman of coming cold; it never fails. The morning will have begun
brilliantly, but soon great summery puffs of cloud form and increase and
darken on their under sides. Their tops are vague and wear a veil. It is
the snow. The reason is simple. The coming anticyclone strikes the upper
air before it hits the earth's surface. The sudden cold causes rapid
condensation. Hence the flurries. But the anticyclone is an agent of
dryness, hence their short duration. Sometimes the veil of snow does not
reach the earth. Sometimes it blots out everything in a spirited squall.
But it never lasts long, except in the northwest states. And it is
invariably followed by a period of colder weather.

In summer local evaporation may be so long-continued or so vigorous that
the cumulus clouds cannot hold all their moisture content when cooled. A
shower is the result, usually a trifling one and mostly without thunder.
The great thunderstorms are always in connection with the passing of a
cyclone. The small heat thunderstorms are only the indulgences of a spell
of fair weather. These tiny showers are daily and sometimes hourly
accompaniments of clear weather in the mountains. The air warms rapidly in
the valleys and is speedily cooled on rushing up a mountain side and a
threat and a sprinkle are the result. When a performance of this sort is
going on nobody need fear unpleasant weather of long duration.

Another pledge of a clear day that does not appear too credible on the
face of it is the morning fog in summer. In winter it is a different
matter. In August and September particularly the rapidly lengthening
nights allow so much heat to evaporate that the surplus moisture in the
air is condensed to the depth of several hundred feet. By ten o'clock the
sun has eaten into this lowest stratum, heated it and yet begins to
decline in power before the balance swings the other way, so that a
cloudless day often follows a fog in those months. About three mornings of
fog, however, are enough to discourage the sun and a rain follows. Of
course this is because the anticyclone with its special properties has
been losing power.

When these conditions of clear nights with no wind follow the first two or
three windy days of the anticyclone, particularly in autumn and spring,
frost results. In winter the chances that a fog will be dissipated are
rather slim. But if it shows a tendency to rise all may yet be well.


_Courtesy of Richard F. Warren_

The fine-spun lines of the cirrus proper drag this veil of whitish cloud
over the sky. The sun sometimes is surrounded by a colored halo due to the
refraction of the light by the ice crystals. But more often it vanishes
behind the veil. The mottled clouds below the veil show that a rather
rapid condensation of the moisture in the air is taking place. This sky is
distinctly threatening, although the direction and force of the wind will
more accurately foretell the severity of the coming storm. With this sky
expect rain or snow within 12 hours.]

An excellent sign of clear weather is this fact of the morning mist rising
from ravines in the mountains. And even if you haven't any mountain
ravines at command the altitude of clouds can be observed. It is safer to
have them lessen in number rather than increase, scatter rather than
combine. The higher the clouds the finer the weather. And if the sky
through the rifts is a clear untarnished blue the prospects of settled
weather are much better than with fewer clouds and a milky blue sky

After the direction of the wind and the shapes of the clouds the colors of
the sky are a great help in the reading of the morrow's promise. And the
best time to read this promise is in the morning or evening when the half
lights emphasize the coloring.

Soon after the close observation of cloud colors has commenced the amazing
discovery is made that the same color at sunrise means exactly the reverse
of its meaning at sunset.

    "Sky red in the morning
      A sailor's sure warning,
    Sky red at night
      A sailor's delight."

Christ seized upon this phenomenon to throw confusion into the Pharisees
and Sadducees when they asked that He would show them a sign from Heaven.
As Matthew reports it:--"He answered and said unto them, When it is
evening ye say, It will be fair weather for the sky is red. And in the
morning It will be foul weather to-day for the sky is red and lowering. O
ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but ye cannot discern
the signs of the times."

The reasons for this contradictory evidence of color are not nearly so
obvious as the fact itself. Taking the scientist's word for it need not
stretch one's credulity overmuch if he can be followed step by step. He
says that sunlight is white light, and white is the sublime combination of
every color. If no atmosphere existed about us the light would all come
through, leaving the sky black. The atmosphere, however, which is full of
dust and water particles, breaks up these rays, these white sheaves of
light, into their various colors. The longest vibrations, which are the
red, and the shortest, which are the violet, get by and the rest are
turned back, mixing up into the color which we call our blue sky.

If the dust and water particles grow so large and numerous as to divert
more of the short rays than usual we get a redder glow than usual. This is
most noticeable when the sun and clouds are near the horizon for the air
through which they appear is nearer the earth and consequently dirtier. If
these water globules mass together so as to reflect all the rays alike the
result is a whitish appearance. That is why a fog bank, composed of tiny
droplets, each reflecting with all its might, can make the sky a dull and
uniform gray.

As evening approaches the temperature of the normal day lowers. As the
temperature lowers it is the tendency of the moisture in the air to
condense about the little dust particles in the air. And as these
particles increase in size their tendency is to reflect more and more of
the waning rays of light. Therefore if the sky is gray in the evening it
means that the atmosphere already contains a good deal of condensed
moisture. If the cooling should go on through the night, as it normally
would, condensation would continue with rain as the likely result.

If, on the other hand, after the evening's cooling has progressed and yet
the colors near the horizon are prevailingly red it means that there is so
little moisture in the atmosphere that the further increase due to the
night's condensation will not be sufficient to cause rain. Hence the
natural delight of the sailor.

A gray morning sky implies an atmosphere full of water precisely as an
evening gray does. The difference lies in the ensuing process. By morning
the temperature has reached its lowest point and if this has not been
sufficient to cause cooling to the rainpoint the chance for rain will be
continually lessened by the growing heat of the rising sun. The gray,
therefore, is the normal indication of a clear cool night which has
permitted radiation and therefore condensation to this degree. It is for
this reason that we have the heavy fogs of August and September followed
by cloudless days.

A red morning sky shows, like the red evening sky, that condensation has
not taken place to any extent. But this is abnormal for a clear night
causes condensation. The red therefore means that a layer of heavy moist
air above the surface levels has prevented the normal radiation. Hence
when the day's evaporation adds more moisture to that already at the
higher levels the total humidity is likely to increase beyond the dewpoint
with the resultant rain.

These two color auguries are among the most reliable of all the weather
signs. Unfortunately the sunrises are scarcely ever on hand to be examined
except by milkmen. But a careful scrutiny of the sunset will make one
proficient in shades. In summer when the sun burns round and clear-cut and
red on the rim of the horizon the air contains much dust and smoke, the
accompaniment of dry weather. And as dry weather has a way of perpetuating
itself such a sun makes dry and continued weather a safe prophecy. In
winter the same red and flaming sun setting brilliant as new minted gold
is a sure indication of clear and cold weather. In all seasons the light
tints of the evening sky mean the atmosphere at its best. A golden sunset,
a light breeze from the west, a glowing horizon as the sun goes down, slow
fading colors all constitute a hundred to one bet for continued fair
weather. The sunset colors that are surely followed by storm will be
discussed in the next chapter.

The sky is too little regarded. Architects that do not consider the sky
are behind in their calling. Maxfield Parrish has made himself famous by
allying himself with its seas of color. The hunter can read it and learn
whether he may sleep dry without his tent. Only we who shut ourselves
within rooms and behind newspapers forget that there is a sky--until it
falls and we are taken to a sanitarium.

From the night itself much may be discovered about the continuance of fair
weather. A sky well sown with stars is a good sign. If only a few stars
are visible the clear spell is about over. Stars twinkle because of abrupt
variation in the temperature of the air strata. If the wind is from the
west cold and clear will result no matter how much may twinkle twinkle
little star. But if he twinkle with the wind from the south or east the
cloud will soon fly. That is the way with these weather signs. One sign
does not make a prophecy. It is the combination that has strength and
reliability. Furthermore the eye must be trained by many comparisons.

Of all the conditions that make night forecasting easy the later evenings
of the moon are the best. The moon furnishes just the proper amount of
illumination to betray the air conditions. If she swims clear and
triumphant well and good. If she rides bright while dark bellying clouds
sweep over her in summer, inconsequential showers may follow. But if she
disappears by faint degrees behind a thin but close knit curtain of cloud
the clear weather is being definitely concluded.

A great many changes in the weather take place after three in the morning.
Most campers are accustomed to waking anyway once or twice to replenish
the fire, and a glance at the stars will show the sleepiest what changes
are occurring in the eternal panorama. A man may have gone to bed in
security to get up in a snowstorm, whereas a survey of the skies at three
would have noted the coming change. The habit of waking in the dead of
night,--which isn't really so dead after all,--is not an unpleasant one.
Its compensations are set forth in a beautiful and vivid chapter of
Stewart Edward White's "The Forest." Every camper knows them, and this
added mastery that a knowledge of the skies gives him lends a sense of
power, which lasts until the unexpected happens.

For the unexpected happens to the best regulated of all forecasters, the
Government. Equipped with every instrument and with an army whose business
is nothing else than to hunt down storms and warn the public, the Weather
Bureau is still surprised fifteen times out of a hundred by unforeseeable
changes in atmospheric pressure. It is scarcely likely then that amateurs
without flawless barometers and without reports of the current weather in
three hundred places could hope to foretell with complete accuracy. But
there is a place for the amateur, aside from his own personal
gratification and profit. The Weather Bureau within the limits of the
present appropriation cannot expect to predict for every village and
borough. That the amateur may do and with as great accuracy for the few
hours immediately in advance.

The Weather Bureau may predict with this large percentage of
accuracy--85%--for forty-eight hours in advance because its scope is
country wide. It may even forecast in a general way for seven days and
still maintain a considerable advantage over almanac guesswork. But the
man who is relying upon local signs is limited to ten or at most twelve
hours. Of course he may guess beyond that but it is only a guess. The work
that the Bureau does and that he may do within his limits is not
guesswork. Meteorology is an exact science, and forecasting is an art.
Both may be studied now in classes under professors with degrees in the
same way that any other science and art may be studied. The old sort of
weather wisdom which was a startling compound of wisdom, superstition, and
inanity has passed away, or is passing away as rational weather talk

These limits of the layman--ten hours with no instruments--are further
defined by his locality. In mountainous country changes come more quickly
than in level localities, in winter than in summer, so that one's
prophetic time-limit is shortened.

While the best indications of the clear day are the great fundamental
ones, there are many little signs that bolster up one's confidence in
one's own predictions. The lessened humidity coincident with clear weather
is responsible often for many little household prognostics. Salt is dry.
The windows (of your summer cottage) do not stick. The children are less
restless. Smoke ascends, or if the wind is blowing is not flattened to the
ground. Flies are merely insects, for the time being, and not the devil.
Swallows and the other birds that eat insects fly high because that is
where the insects are. Spiders do not hesitate to make their webs on the
lawn. They welcome dew but distrust rain. Cow and sheep feed quietly,
rarely calling to one another as they do before a storm. In short the
general aspect of these is normal and therefore remains unnoticed.

But all these household prognostics may be advertising the most placid
weather while only twelve hours away and coming at sixty miles an hour may
be the severest storm of the season. The Weather Bureau with its maps and
barometers follows its every movement. The man in the woods whose comfort
in summer and whose life in winter may depend upon his preparedness for
the approaching storm does well to read its warnings and know its laws.



Doubtless those who hope for a Hereafter of unmitigated ease and song,
desire, on this earth, one long, sweet anticyclone. But theirs, in most of
the United States, is disappointment. With an irregularity that seems
perversely regular at times our fair weather is interrupted by a storm
which in turn gives way to some more fair weather or another storm,--there
is no telling which very long in advance. And that is why American weather
ranks high among our speculative interests.

To emphasize this irregularity a seemingly regular succession of events
may be noticed. It will cloud up, let's say, on a Sunday, rain on Monday
and Tuesday, clear on Wednesday, staying clear until Sunday when it will
cloud up for the repeat. During this past season it rained on a dozen
washdays in succession. The newspapers grew jocular about it. And very
often one notices two or three rainy Sundays in a row. By actual
observation this year we enjoyed fifteen clear Thursdays in succession in
a normal spring.

The weather gets into a rut. And if the anticyclones and cyclones were all
of the same intensity it is conceivable that the rainy Sundays might go on
until the Day of Rest was changed by Statute. But the intensities of the
whirls differ. Before long an anticyclone feebler than ordinary is
overtaken by a cyclone and annihilated. Or one stronger than the average
may dominate the situation for several days. Or the great body of cold air
in winter over the interior of Canada may send a succession of moderate
antis across our country making a barrier of dry cold air through which
the lurking cyclone can not push.

Mostly, however, three days of anticyclonic influence and three days of
cyclonic influence with one day in between for rest, the transition
period, make up a normal week of it. Let the American farmer thank his
stars (and clouds) for that. For no other regions of the earth are so
consistently watered and sunned all the year round as the great expanse of
the North American Continent.

The cyclone is that activity of the atmosphere which prevents us from
suffering from an eternal drought. The cyclone is an accumulation of air
which has become warmer than the air about it. This area of air usually
has a central portion that is warmest of all. Since warmth expands, this
air grows lighter and rises. Nature, steadfast in her grudge against a
vacuum, causes the surrounding air to rush it. Since these contending
currents cannot all occupy the central area at once they fall into a vast
ascending spiral that spins faster and faster as it approaches the center.
Imagine an inverted whirlpool. It is a replica on a much smaller scale of
the great polar influx, except that the latter has a descending motion.

The cyclone thus is tails to the anticyclone's heads, the reverse of the
coin. Where the anti's air was cool and dry the cyclone's is warm and
moist. The anti had a downward tendency and a motion, in our hemisphere,
flowing outward from the apex in generous curves in the direction of clock
hands. The cyclone has an upward tendency, flowing inward to the core
contrariwise to clock hands.

From these two great actions and reactions come all the varieties of our
weather. To understand the procession of the cyclones and anticyclones
across our plateaus, our mountains, our plains, and our eastern highland
is to know why, and often when, it will be clear or not. To mentally
visualize the splendid sweep of the elements on their transcontinental run
is to glimpse grandeur in the order of things which will go far to offset
the petty annoyances of fog or sleet. Ignorance may be bliss, but
knowledge is preparedness.

The anticyclone suggests a pyramid of cold, dry air. The cyclone suggests
a shallow circular tank in leisurely whirl. But all comparisons are
misleading and a caution is needed right here. For a storm is not a
watering cart driven across our united skies by Jupiter Tonans Pluvius. It
is NOT a receptacle from which rain drips until the supply is exhausted. A
cyclone is a much more delicate operation than that. It is a process. It
can renew itself and become a driving rain storm after it had all the
appearance of being a sucked orange for a thousand miles.

Suppose that our cyclone, this organization of warm, moist air with its
curving winds, enters the state of Washington on a Wednesday, from the
North Pacific. As early as the Monday afternoon before the wind throughout
all that section of the country would have shifted out of the west and
have started to blow in some easterly direction,--northeast in British
Columbia and southeast in lower Idaho. But since these winds are blowing
from the interior they are dry, and consequently rain does not fall much
before the storm center is near, that is on the Wednesday. If the storm
center passes north of Tacoma the winds, shifting by south and southwest,
bring in the ocean moisture and heavy rain commences which continues until
the rising barometer and westerly winds indicate the approach of another
anticyclone. So much for western Washington.

As the cyclone passes eastward it mounts the Cascades and its temperature
is lowered, its moisture is squeezed out, and it stalks over Montana, the
mere ghost of its former self, as far as energy and rainfall are
concerned. To be sure it preserves its essential characteristics of
relative warmth, and inwhirling winds. But let it continue. As its
influence begins to be felt over Wisconsin and the Lake region the moister
air is sucked into the whirl and rain, evaporated from Superior, falls on
Minnesota. The east winds are the humid ones now, the west ones the dry.
Eastward the center moves, over Indiana, Ohio, New York, the rainfall
steadily increasing as the ocean reservoirs are tapped.

The first time you tell a New Englander that his easterly storms come from
the west you are in danger, unless he be a child, for it is to the
children that one may safely appeal. Indeed it is the increasing number of
children who are learning these fundamental weather facts in the public
schools that the Weather Bureau relies upon for a more intelligent support
in the next generation. They teach their parents. These latter find it
difficult to believe, however, that the storms which hurl the fishing
fleets upon the coast in a blinding northeaster have not originated far
out at sea, but have come across the continent. For the safe handling of
boats knowledge of the rotary motion of storms is necessary that one may
be able to tell by the direction of the winds and the way they are
shifting where lies the center of the storm and its greatest intensity.

In Tacoma when the wind shifted by way of southeast, south, and southwest
that was proof that the storm center was passing north of the city.
Likewise if in New York the winds shift by way of northeast, north, and
northwest the storm center is passing south of that city. As it drifts out
to sea it is gradually dissipated by the changing influences on the North
Atlantic. Very few of our storms ever reach Europe, although some have
been traced to Siberia.

The Government has put its sleuths on the track of every storm that has
crossed the United States in the last thirty years. These weather
detectives with a thousand eyes have made diagrams of their actions,
mapped their courses, computed their speeds, and if we don't know where
all our discarded storms go to, we at least know where most of them came
from and how they acted when with us.

About a hundred and ten areas of low-pressure affect the country during
the normal year. Of these all but seven, speaking in averages, come from
the West so that the Boston mechanic who will not believe that the
nor'easter comes via the Mississippi Valley is right about 7/110 of the
time. But even that small fraction is no exception to the general law,
because those seven storms are not born in Newfoundland but in our East
Gulf States. They come up the Coast, and the wind blows from the northeast
and north into their centers while they are still on the Carolina coast.
The great hurricanes which are cradled in the tropics and march westward
under the influence of the trades are genuine exceptions to the general
westward rule, although they always eventually turn toward the east. They
will be given the prominence they demand later, since the eastbound
schedule must not be sidetracked now.


_Courtesy of Richard F. Warren_

The wispy edges of the cloud at the brightest part are cirrus, the fleecy
cloud at the extreme top is a thin alto-cumulus, and the dark base of the
sky is stratus. But this stratus is too high for that classification and
so they call it alto-stratus. This sky shows that the temperatures are
moderate, a cold sky being much better packed, and a warm one fluffier.
The fact that a veil of cirrus has not preceded the heavier clouds argues
that the coming storm will not be of much consequence. This sort of cloud
bank arising after a period of cold weather is the best possible
prediction of a thaw. Slight rain might follow within a few hours.]

Three cyclones a year form over the lower Ohio River basin. On account of
their origin over land instead of over water they rarely acquire much
energy. Once in a decade such depressions deepen rapidly. It was one of
these Ohio River storms that increased greatly in energy while moving from
West Virginia to the Jersey Coast that gave Philadelphia her Christmas
Blizzard, a surprise to her citizens and to the Weather Bureau, for most
of the snow fell with the mercury above freezing. The flare-back which
gave Taft his big inaugural snowstorm is another example of the way a
depression may deepen on approaching the coast. Until the upper atmosphere
is as well understood and watched as the lower, or until instruments are
perfected whereby the weather conditions can be made self-announcing such
surprises are absolutely unavoidable. Under conditions that warrant any
suspicion of sudden developments the Bureau at Washington is careful to
order extra observations in the areas likely to be affected, but no
surface observations can quite suffice.

Fifteen storms a year originate over the west Gulf States, or, drifting in
from the Pacific over Arizona and New Mexico begin to acquire energy in
Texas. Twelve are set up over the Colorado mountains. These usually dip
down into Texas before starting their drive toward the northeast. After
both these sets of storms get under way they strike resolutely for the
same locality,--the St. Lawrence Valley. The conformation of the St.
Lawrence region provides an irresistible attraction for American storms.
Occasionally a very strong anticyclone holds that territory and pushes the
cyclone off the coast at Hatteras or even makes them drift across the
country to Florida. But such occasions are exceptional. Give the ordinary
cyclone its head, and, ten to one, you will find it on the way to the St.
Lawrence. The inhabitants will confirm this statement, I am sure. They do
not feel discriminated against in the matter of weather. They get nearly
everything that is going. Since they have to accommodate from seventy to
eighty cyclones in fifty-two weeks they have very little time to brood
over any one variety of weather. With the optimism of that section of the
country they say, "If you don't like our weather, wait a minute."

Ten storms a year originate over the Rocky Mountain Plateau, north of
Colorado. About twenty cross over from the Canadian Provinces of Alberta
and British Columbia. And all our other storms, about forty each year,
enter our country from the North Pacific by way of Washington and Oregon.
Many of these drift across the northern tier of states without any great
display of energy, at least before they reach the Lake region. But the
majority loop down somewhat into the middle west as far south as Kansas,
and then make their turn toward the inevitable St. Lawrence. They usually
require four days to make the trip from coast to coast by this route, as
also by the more direct northern route, because on that they travel more
at leisure. But the storms from Texas, whose energy is greatest because of
greater heat and moisture, occasionally speed from Oklahoma to New York in
thirty-six hours.

In summer all speeds are reduced. This is because the disparities in
temperature are less. In winter where greater extremes of temperature are
brought into conjunction the processes of the storm are all more violent.
And it is a bit disheartening to know that a storm is aggravated to even
greater endeavors by its own exertions. Its energy provides the conditions
to stimulate greater energy, and, like a fire, it increases as it goes. If
it did not run out of the zone which nourished it and proceed into another
zone where conditions were distinctly discouraging the limits of the
storm would be much extended, and vast territories would be devastated by
the self-propelling combination of wind and water.

To the generality of us the word storm means rain. To the scientist it
means wind. In reality the cyclone is rare that crosses our country
without causing rain somewhere along its track. The curiosity of the
Weather Bureau to find out the paths of the storm centers is abundantly
justified because it is along these paths that the heaviest rainfall and
the severest winds occur. But whether or not there is precipitation on the
path of the cyclone it is rated as a storm if there is a lowering of
pressure and consequent wind-shift.

The storm centers are not always well-defined, and quite often the
circulation of the wind about them is not complete. Such cyclones never
amount to much, although there is always the possibility of their closing
in and developing a complete circulation with the attendant increase of
energy. The incomplete cyclones over the desert and plateau regions are
lame affairs, lacking interest and advancing timidly if at all. But once
let them drift into a locality where they can be supplied with moist air,
they pick up energy, keep a definite course, and advance with increasing

Very often the center will split up, the circulation perfecting itself
around both centers of depression. One of these will likely be over
Minnesota and the other over Texas and the organization will steam-roller
the states to the east in the manner of a gigantic dumb-bell. This
formation is more likely to have been caused by the two centers appearing
simultaneously than by a split in an original center. The weather reports
call this fashion of storm a trough of low pressure. The southern center
is the one that develops the more energy on its turn to the northeast. If
the two centers should unite on reaching the northeast a very heavy
precipitation is the invariable result.

All cyclones have much greater length than breadth. They frequently
stretch from unknown latitudes in Canada into unrecorded distances into
the Gulf, while on the other hand it is a very large storm that rains
simultaneously upon the Mississippi and the Atlantic. Behind a cyclone of
pronounced energy a second whirl, called a secondary depression, often
develops, in which case the period of wet weather is prolonged. Also, more
rarely, an offshoot forms ahead of the main depression.

A sluggish, sulky cyclone either in winter or summer provides more
opportunity to humanity for self-discipline than almost any other feature
of our national environment. In winter when the depression slows up it
settles down upon one community in the guise of fog, and stays by the
locality until an anticyclone blows in and noses it out. Fog is
aggravation, but a hot wave is suffering and the hot wave is caused by a
depression weak in character but generous in dimensions getting held up on
the northern half of our country. By its nature it attracts the air from
all sides, and being in the north, the direction of the wind over most of
the country would be southerly. Air from the west and north has a downward
tendency, but south and east winds are surface currents. Consequently
these winds, blowing over leagues of heated soil, become dry and parching.
If the depression lingers long the entire country to the east, south, and
west soon suffers from superheated air. At last the very intensity of the
heat defeats itself and the reaction to cooler is effected dramatically
through a thunderstorm.

The well-developed cyclone in winter causes what we all know as a three
days' rain, although continuous precipitation rarely lasts over ten
hours. The rest of the time is occupied by general cloudiness with
occasional sprinkles and a final downpour as the wind shifts to the west
and the anticyclone nears. In summer the depressions, being shallower,
rarely cause continuous cloudiness for three days, although their
influence often lasts as long as that in the guise of a series of
thunderstorms. The line of storms extends several hundred miles,
bombarding all the towns from Albany to Richmond. These thunderstorms
sometimes achieve in an hour or two even greater results than their winter
relatives can accomplish in three days in the matter of rainfall, wind
velocity, and general destructiveness. Our wettest months are July and
August and not December and January.

The freedom of the wind has been the subject of much poetic and prosaic
license. As a matter of fact the wind is the veriest slave of all the
elements. It is harried about from cyclone to anticyclone, wound up in
tornadoes, directed hither and thither by changing temperatures. It blows,
not where it listeth, but where it has to. And circuitously at that. For
once the path of duty is not straight. That is another fact that the
Boston mechanic would have been slow to accept,--that the wind blows in
curves. A little consideration, however, of the fact that the wind is
perpetually unwinding in great curves from the anticyclone and winding up
on the cyclone will show that nowhere can it be blowing in a perfectly
straight line.

Thus it becomes the surest indication that a cyclone is to the west of one
if the wind blows from an easterly point. The storm is bound to move
toward the east, therefore the rapidity with which the clouds move and
thicken will signify when the area of precipitation will reach the
observer. The cycle of the storm is normally this: After a cloudless and
windless night a light air springs up from a little north of east. At the
same time strands of thin wavy clouds appear, very high up. They may be
seen to be moving from the southwest or northwest. Their velocity is
great. Their name is cirrus, and they are called mares' tails by the
sailors. They are followed by several hours of clear skies, usually; but
if the storm is smaller and close at hand there is no clear interval.

Before the larger storms these cirrus clouds are sent up as storm signals
twenty-four and even forty-eight hours in advance. The day that intervenes
is very clear, the air feels softer, the temperature is higher. In
midafternoon more cirrus appears, and as condensation follows the quick
cooling the silky lines increase in number. Beneath them a thicker
formation, known as cirro-stratus, forms a dense bank in the west and
southwest. The sun sets in a gray obscurity. If there is a moon it fades
by degrees behind the veil of alto-stratus, and the halo which first was
seen wide enough to enclose several stars narrows until it chokes the moon
in its ever-thickening cocoon of vapor.

There is no value whatever in the old superstition that the number of
stars within the halo foretells the number of days that it will rain or
snow. The same halo that encloses three stars at eight o'clock may have
narrowed down to one by midnight, or none at all, so that the prophetic
circle is bound in the very nature of its increase to contradict itself.
The presence of a halo is a pretty sure sign of some precipitation within
twenty-four or thirty hours. It fails about thirteen times in a hundred.
If the halo is observed around the sun it is an even surer sign, failing
only seven times the hundred.

During the time of cloud-increase the wind will probably lull before a
snow, so that the hour or so before precipitation begins is one of intense
brooding calm. Or if there is no calm the wind, now easterly, will be very
gentle. Soon after the precipitation begins the wind will begin to
freshen and will continue to increase in velocity until the center of the
storm is close to the locality. This will require about eight hours for
the average storm. As storms vary an average is a very misleading thing
and the best way to judge of the length and severity of the storm is by
watching the wind. If it increases gradually the storm will be of long
duration. If the wind rises fitfully and swiftly it will not likely be
long but may be severe. If the wind reaches any considerable velocity
before the rain or snow begins the storm is sure to be short and severe.

The color and formation of the clouds will tell when the precipitation is
about to begin. In summer, no matter how striking and black are the shapes
and shadows of the clouds, rain will not fall until a gray patch, a
uniform veil called nimbus is seen. In the little showers of April this
patch of unicolored cloud is there, as well as behind the great arch of
the onrushing thunderstorm. In winter raindrops are smaller and the
tendency of the clouds is to appear a dull, uniform gray at all times. But
the careful observer can detect a difference between the nature of the
clouds several hours before precipitation and their color immediately

When snow is about to fall no seams are visible. An impenetrable film
obscures all the joints. From such a sky as this snow is sure to fall. But
if seams are visible, if parts of the skyscape are darker than others,
then, no matter whether the temperature on the ground is below freezing a
rain storm will ensue. Very often these winter rains begin in snow or
sleet, but the clouds register the moment when the change from snow to
rain is to be made. The presence of swift-flying low clouds from the east
is a certain sign that the change to a temperature above freezing has been
effected in the upper strata of the atmosphere. This variety of cloud is
called scud, and accompanies rain and wind rather than foretelling it long
in advance.

If the storm is approaching from the southwest the precipitation begins
near the coast about twelve hours after the cirrus clouds commence to
thicken and about twenty-four after they were first seen. In some
localities as much as thirty-six and even forty-eight hours are sometimes
required for the east wind to bring the humidity to the dew-point. Just a
little observation will enable one to gauge the ordinary length of time
required to bring things to the rain-pitch in one's own country. Of course
no two storms in succession make the trip under the same auspices and
with the same speed. The sign of the Universe should be a pendulum.
One period of cyclone, anticyclone, cyclone will traverse the country
rapidly. Then there will be a halt all along the line, and the next
series,--anticyclone, cyclone, anticyclone, will take three days longer to
make the crossing. Otherwise our weather would have a deadening

On an average our storms cross the country at the rate of about six
hundred miles a day. This is the average. Some delay, linger, and wait for
days over one locality. Others do a thousand miles in the twenty-four
hours. They thicken up enough to cause rain from two hundred to six
hundred miles in advance of their centers. It stops raining not long after
the actual center has passed.

But for picnic purposes the storm is far from being over. For even though
continuous raining has stopped the low pressure still induces a degenerate
sort of precipitation called showers, or oftener mist for another twelve
hours (usually in winter). Then as the cooling influence of the
anticyclone approaches the rain recommences. This time it is not for long,
however, and is followed by permanent clearing, the wind shifting into the
west. Sometimes the change to blue sky is abrupt. But if the subsequent
anticyclone is not very well defined, cloudy conditions may linger for a
couple of days. Such clouds are usually much broken and show white at the
edges and never cause more than a chilly feeling.

This attempt to outline the customary cycle of the storm,--clear sky,
cirrus cloud, wind-shift to the east, the denser cirro-stratus, the
pavement-like stratus, the woolly nimbus, the first continuous hours of
rain, the misty interval, the windshift to the west, the final shower, and
breaking cloud, the all-blue sky--this storm-schedule is always subject to
change. But the fundamentals are there in disguise every time. They only
have to be looked for and there is some satisfaction in penetrating the

When a storm comes up the Atlantic Coast, as happens a few times a winter,
the process is shortened, because the effects of the larger easterly
quadrants are felt only at sea. The most prominent recent illustration of
this type of storm was the severe snowstorm that swept the coast states
from Carolina to Maine the Saturday before Easter, 1915. Its calendar read
as follows: Friday, 8 P. M., cirrus clouds thickening into cirro-stratus.
Midnight, stars faintly visible, wind from northeast, 12 miles an hour.
Sunrise, stratus clouds, wind rising in gusts at Philadelphia to 30
miles; 8 A. M., rapid consolidation of clouds with snow shortly after,
although the temperature at the surface of the earth was as high as seven
degrees above the freezing point. This rapidly dropped to freezing. Flakes
were irregular in size. Until one o'clock in the afternoon the snow
thickened with gusts of wind up to forty miles. Snowfall for five hours
was 14 inches, an unprecedented fall for this locality.

Then the storm waned for five hours more, 5 inches more of snow falling.
Precipitation practically ceased at 6 P. M. By sunrise on Sunday the skies
were free of clouds and the wind blew gently from the northwest.

Occasionally a high pressure area out at sea and beyond the ken of the
Weather Bureau causes one of these coast storms to curve inward to the
surprise of everybody. Occasionally, too, the transcontinental storms are
driven north or south of their accustomed paths. While the divergence may
be slight, it causes a margin of variance from the accuracy of the
Bureau's report. Then arises a second storm,--one of indignation--from all
the people on one side of the strip who carried umbrellas to no purpose,
and from the others,--who didn't.

This pushing aside of the cyclone is caused by pressure variation that
only hourly reports from many localities could detect. Vast hidden
influences shift the weights ever so little and the meteorological express
is wrecked. But this happens, at most, fifteen times in a hundred, and
remembering the unseen agencies to be coped with people are refraining
more and more from the tart criticisms of former times, not in charity but
in justice, although there is small tendency yet to forward eulogies to
the Bureau in recognition of the eighty-five times it is right.



The weather-wise, even more so than poets, are born. But that only goes to
say that weather-wisdom can be fathered. For poetry and canoeing and the
art of making fires, once the desire for these things is born, may be
aided infinitely by observation and practice. Nobody can teach a man the
smell of the wind. But the chap who feels nature beating under his heart
can, by taking thought, add anything to his stature. So it is with those
who are called weather-wise. An unconscious desire, a little conscious
knowledge, a good deal of experimentation with the cycle of days, and you
have a weatherman.

These chapters aim to put the little conscious knowledge into the hands of
the people with the unconscious desire, so that when they take their week
in the woods for the first time (and their month for the second time) they
may enjoy the shifting scenery of the sky-ocean and, incidentally, a dry
skin. For I take it that everybody will soon be camping. Maine and the
Adirondacks have become a family barracks. It is Hudson Bay for bachelors.
And over this expanse of woods and children the weather problem ranks with
the domestic one. For naturally if a soaking would endanger his vacation
the husband must not permit a rain,--unexpectedly. In all seriousness, it
is of avail to know the skies if one is going into the wilds just as it is
of avail to know what severed arteries demand, what woods burn well, and
what mushrooms can be eaten, even though one can get along without knowing
these things until perchance the artery is severed or the arched squall
catches one far from shore.

At the very least, one grain of weather wisdom prevents a mush of
discomfort. And if, fellow-camper, the following observations gathered on
a thousand thoughtless walks do not tally (for the northeastern states)
with yours, write me, so that in the end we may finally contrive together
a completer handbook of our weather.


Clouds are signposts on the highway of the winds. Every phase of the
weather, except stark clearness, is commented upon by a cloud of some
sort. When danger is close they thicken. When it passes they disappear.
The aviators of the future will be cloud-wary. He who flies must read or
never fly again.

The cirrus cloud is always the first to appear in the series that leads up
to the storm. It looks like the tail of Pegasus and for it the old
forecasters in their forecastles made a special proverb.

    "Mackerel scales and mares' tails
    Make lofty ships carry low sails."

These white plumes and scrolls which are in reality glistening ice-breath,
fly at the height of five, six, seven, and even eight miles. And as a sign
of coming storm they are about as infallible as anything may be in this
erratic world. They were born in the cradle of a storm. The storm center
was breathing warmed air upward to great heights, and although the disc of
the storm itself was only two or three miles deep, its nucleus,
crater-like, shot warm columns twice as far. With just enough moisture
content to make a showing against the blue these streamers flowed to the
eastward. At those dizzy heights the prevailing westerlies are in full
force, blowing from eighty to two hundred miles an hour night after night
and day after day. These westerlies caught the storm exhalations, the
streamers, and hurled them eastward at greater speed than the main body of
the storm. And that is the reason that we see these cirrus clouds always
eight, mostly twelve, often twenty-four and sometimes forty-eight hours
before the storm is due.

Just a few strands of cirrus have little significance. They may be
condensation from a local disturbance, or a back fling from a past storm.
But if the procession of the cirri has some continuity and broadens to the
western horizon it is a sign about eight times in ten that a cyclone is
approaching. Occasionally the storm center is too far to the south or
north to cause rains at your locality, but the cirri bank up on the
horizon and their lacework covers the sky. If they appear to be moving
toward the region of greatest cloudiness it is not a sign of
precipitation. This condition is most apparent at Philadelphia when the
storm center over Alabama or Mississippi floats out to sea by way of
Florida without having the energy to turn north. Then the cirrus is seen
thickly on our southern horizon. Looking closely one sees that the cirri
are moving from the northwest, and are being drawn into the storm area
instead of proceeding in advance of it.

Careful watching will sometimes enable one to tell whether the tails are
increasing or decreasing in size. If they dissolve it means that the
cyclone from which they were projected is losing strength because of new
conditions. Cloudiness may follow but no precipitation of consequence. The
plumy tails are expressive: pointing upward they mean that the upward
currents are strong and rain will follow; pointing downward they mean that
the cold dry upper currents have the greater weight and clear weather is
likely. In summer the cirrus cloud formations are not such certain advance
agents of rain because all depressions are weaker and less able to
confront a well-intrenched drought. As the proverb goes, "all signs of
rain fail in dry weather," and there is some truth in it.

The fine wavy cirrus clouds often increase in number, develop in texture
until the blue sky has become veiled with a muslin-like layer of mist.
This is the cirro-stratus, and is a development of the cirrus, but it does
not fly so high. Its significance is of greater humidity and is the first
real confirmation of the earlier promise of the cirri. Another form that
the cirro stratus may assume is the mackerel sky,--clouds with the light
and shade of the scales of a fish. If this formation is well-defined and
following cirrus it is a fairly accurate storm indicator. It is not quite
infallible, however, as the same forms may be assumed when the process is
from wet to dry.

The old proverb, "Mackerel sky, soon wet or soon dry," expresses this
uncertainty. If dry is to follow the scales will appreciably lessen in
size and perhaps disappear. If the cirro-stratus or scaly clouds are
followed by a conspicuous lowering it is only a question of a few hours
until precipitation begins. The cirro-stratus at a lower level is called
alto-stratus and this becomes heavy enough to obscure the sun.

The cloud process from stratus on is slow or rapid, depending upon the
energy of the coming storm and the rate of its approach. In most cases the
clouds darken, solidify, and become a uniform gray, no shadows thrown, no
joints. Soon after the leaden hues are thus seamless the first snowflake
falls. If it doesn't it is a sign that the process of condensation is
halting: the storm will not be severe. Sometimes there is no precipitation
after all this preparation, but under these circumstances the wind has not
ventured much east of north. From the time that the snow starts the clouds
have chance to tell little. Only by a process of relative lightening or
darkening can the progress of the storm be followed and the wind, and not
the clouds at all, is the factor to be watched; for occasionally the sun
may shine through the tenuous snowclouds without presaging any genuine
clearing so long as the wind is in the east.

But in summer the clouds become even more eloquent than the wind. The
rain-cloud, called the nimbus, becomes different from the dull winter
spectacle. In summer air becomes heated much more quickly and the warm
currents pour up into the cold altitudes where they condense into the
marvelous Mont Blancs (or ice-cream cones) of a summer afternoon. These
piled masses of vapor are cumulus clouds, and if they don't overdo the
matter are a sign of fair weather. They should appear as little cottony
puffs about ten or eleven in the morning, increase slowly in size, rear
their dazzling heads and then start to melt about four in the afternoon.

But perhaps the upward rush of warm, moist air has been so great in the
morning that the afternoon cooling cannot dispose of it all without
spilling. Then occurs a little shower,--the April sort. Often in our
mountainous districts it showers every day for this reason. The great
thunderstorms come for greater reasons: they are yoked to a low pressure
area and represent the summer's brother to the winter's three-day storm.

Cumulus clouds are called fair weather clouds until their bellies swell
and blacken and they begin to form a combination in restraint of sunlight.
Even then it will not rain so much out of the blackness as out of the
grayness behind it, and if there is no grayness chances are that you will
escape a wetting. One can almost always measure the amount of rain that is
imminent by the density of the curtain being let down from the rear of the
cloud. If you can see the other clouds through it or the landscape the
shower will be slight. If a gray curtain obscures everything behind it you
had better pull your canoe out of the water and hide under it if time is
less valuable than a dry skin. Such showers may be successive but rarely

Rain clouds have been observed within 230 yards of the ground. Very often
it can be seen to rain from lofty clouds and the fringe of moisture
apparently fail to reach the earth, because the condensation was licked up
and totally absorbed on entering a stratum of warmer air. The reverse of
this occurs on rare occasions;--condensation takes place so rapidly that a
cloud does not have time to form, and rain comes from an apparently clear
sky. This phenomenon has been witnessed oftenest in dry regions and never
for very long or in great amounts, although a half hour of this sort of
disembodied storm is on record.

If the cumulus clouds of the summer's afternoon do not decrease in size as
evening approaches showers may be looked for during the night. And if the
morning sky is full of these puffy little clouds the day's evaporation on
adding to them will probably cause rain. A trained eye will distinguish
between a stale and fresh appearance in cloud formation, the light, newly
made, fresh clouds, like fresh bread, contain more moisture. If the clouds
have much white about them they need not be feared as rain-bearers. Clouds
are much higher in summer than in winter and the raindrops of warm air are
larger than those of cool.

If cumulus clouds heap up to leeward, that is, to the north, or northwest
on a south or southwest wind a heavy storm is sure to follow. This is
notably so as regards the series of showers in connection with the passage
of a low-pressure area. The wind will bear heavy showers from the south
(in summer) for a whole morning and half the afternoon with intervals of
brilliant sky and burning sun. Or perhaps the south wind will not produce
showers, but all the time along the northwest horizon a bank of cloud
grows blacker and approaches the zenith, flying in the face of the wind or
tacking like a squadron against it. About the time that the lightning
becomes noticeable and the thunder is heard the wind drops suddenly, veers
into the west, and the face of things darkens with the onrush of the

Although no rain may have fallen while the wind was in the southern
quarter yet that constituted the first half of the storm and the onslaught
of rain and thunder the second. While the storm area moved from the west
to the east the circulation of air about the center was vividly
demonstrated by the south wind blowing into the depression, whose center
was epitomized by the moment of calm before the charge of the plumed
thunderheads from the northwest.

Most camping is done either in hilly or mountainous country where the
movement of clouds is swifter and more changeable than over flat lands.
There is one sign of great reliability: if the mountains put on their
nightcaps the weather is changing for the wetter, and if clouds rise on
the slopes of the hills or up ravines, or increase their height noticeably
over the mountain-tops, the weather is changing for the dryer. In the
mountains where abrupt cliffs toss the winds with all their moisture to
heights that cool clouds form and condense rapidly and the weather changes
quickly. But even in the mountains the big changes give plenty of warning.

Often clouds may be noticed moving in two or even three directions on
different levels at once. The upper stratum will probably be cirrus from
the west. Cumulus or stratus may be floating up from the south. A light
drift of vapor called scud may fly on the surface easterly wind. Such a
confused condition of wind circulation betokens an unsettled system of air
pressures and as frequent collisions of the air bodies at varying
temperatures are inevitable rains, probably heavy, will follow.

On clear days one will be surprised to see isolated clouds, usually the
torn, thin sort, drifting across the sky from the east. A change will
follow soon.

In winter black, hard clouds betoken a bleak wind.

Clear winter days several times a season show a brilliant blue sky filling
with great cumulus clouds of dark blue, blurred at the top and gray at the
base. They will sprinkle snow in smart, short flurries, and are ushering
in a period of clear and much colder weather.

A sky full of white clouds and much light is a cheerful sign of continuing
fair weather.

The softer the sky the milder the weather and the more gentle the wind. It
is the dark gloomy blues that bring the wind. But do not mistake the
woolly softness of the rolling clouds before a thunderstorm. A sudden and
often violent gust follows. Tumbling clouds in any event should make one
wary of venturing on water. Summer drownings would not be so numerous if
the portent of the squall were heeded.

To this data might be added many singular cloud formations that are not
observed often. The funnel shaped cloud of the tornado, the green shades
of the hurricane cloud, the green sky of cold weather showing out between
layers of steel blue, coppery tints that show before heavy storms
sometimes, variations of color at sunset each of which has a meaning which
practice in deciphering will make clear. But enough has been given to show
sky-searchers how many are the tips of coming weather that may be read
from a conglomeration of fog particles. Nobody with eyes should be caught
unawares by day. The look of the sunset shadows forth much of the coming
night. And throughout all this truth holds: the greater the coming storm
the longer and clearer are the warnings given to the watchful.


The wind is the ring-master of the clouds. It whistles and they obey.
Therefore to be windwise is to be weatherwise, almost.

One can get a hold on the wind by learning to gauge its strength. Look at
the trees or the smoke from your city chimneys and guess how fast it blows
at eight o'clock in the morning, or eight at night. The weather report the
next day will tell you how nearly you were right.

Beginning is easy; anybody can guess a calm. When the leaves are just
moving lazily the Weather Bureau calls it a light or gentle breeze, moving
from 2 to 5 miles an hour. A fresh breeze, from 6 to 15 miles will stir
the twigs at first and finally swing the branches about. From 16 to 25
miles, a brisk wind, will cause white caps on the lakes, tossing the tops
of the trees, but breaking only small twigs. Increasing from 26 to 40
miles it becomes a high wind that breaks branches on trees, wrecks signs
in the towns, causes high waves at sea and roars like the ocean in heavy
squalls through the woods. From 40 to 60 miles an hour makes a gale.
Sailing craft are now in danger. The pressure at 50 miles an hour is 13
pounds to the square foot, having risen from three-quarters of an ounce at
3 miles. This pressure becomes 40 pounds per foot when the wind reaches a
velocity of 90 miles.

At 60 trees are uprooted, chimneys may go, it is difficult to walk
against, the noise becomes very great but rather inspires than frightens.
As the gale increases from 60 to 80 (which velocity the Bureau rather
weakly calls a storm wind), danger rapidly increases. Trees are
prostrated, the uproar becomes terrifying, walking without aid is
impossible, the great ocean liners are in danger, the sea becomes a
whitened surface of driving spume that heaps up into piles of water thirty
or more feet high, windows are blown in and frame houses cannot stand much
greater velocities. Anything from 80 miles an hour up is well called a
hurricane. Everything goes at 100. At Galveston the machine that
registered the wind velocity blew away at 100.

They have better instruments now, and in many places velocities of over a
hundred miles an hour have been recorded. As high as 186 miles was
registered on the top of Mt. Washington, and in a single gust 110 at
Montreal. The great hurricane winds are most felt at a few of the exposed
places on our coasts. Cape Mendocino, on the Pacific, has 144 miles an
hour to its credit in a January hurricane. But enough destruction is done
at 90 miles. Fields are stripped of their crops, or leveled; houses are
demolished unless they are specially built, like the New York
sky-scrapers, to withstand much higher velocities. In the small whirling
storms called tornadoes the wind is estimated to reach a velocity of 200
to 500 miles, and nothing but the cyclone cellar will shelter one from the
fury of the elements when they are really unleashed.

The higher one goes the greater the velocity of the wind. On the top of
Mt. Washington 100 miles is rather common for hours at a time and 150 is
recorded now and then. That is only 6000 feet above Boston. If such a
force struck Boston for a minute it would be blown _en masse_ into the

Velocities on land are less than those at sea, because of the resulting
friction from obstacles. Velocities in summer are lower (thunder gusts
excepted) than in winter. Since the wind is caused by differences in
atmospheric pressure, and that in turn by disparities in temperature,
winter holds the palm for greater velocities because the wide whirl of a
cyclone over the great plains may cause to mix air from Texas with a
temperature of 60 degrees with air from Montana of 30 degrees below zero,
while the summer temperatures in both states might easily be 80 degrees.

Throughout most of our land certain winds have always the same bearing
upon the weather and this correspondence is roughly the same over most of
the country. West winds, for instance, are an almost universal guarantee
of clear weather. The Pacific Coast and western Florida are the

Northwest winds bring clear skies and cool weather everywhere. In winter
in the north plateau section heavy snows arrive in advance of the severe
cold waves that come on these northwest gales.

North winds are the cold bearing ones. Clear skies prevail under their

Northeast winds are cold, raw snow-bearing winds in winter and spring and
bring chilly rains in midsummer.

East winds are the surest rainbringers of all for the eastern two-thirds
of the country, and are soon followed by rain with a shift of wind over
the other third. Their temperatures are more moderate than those of the
northeast storms.

The greatest falls of rain occur, however, with the southeast winds, whose
moisture content is greater than that of the others because they are
warmer and blow off water except in Rocky Mountain districts.

South winds are warm and contain much moisture, which falls in showers
rather than in continuous rains.

The southwest winds of winter precede a thaw and are much damper than west
winds. In summer over much of our country they are hot, parching winds
that injure vegetation.

The average velocity of the wind from these different quarters is variable
in different parts of the country, the severest being on the southeast and
northwest quadrants. The highest winds are always where the steepest
gradients are; that is, where the barometric pressure decreases or
increases the fastest. The steepest gradients are usually on the northeast
and northwest sides of the storm center, with the exception of the
Atlantic Coast where the southeast winds are often highest. The average
for the northeast quadrant is 16 miles, for S. E. 30, for S. W. 20, and
for the N. W. 30 miles an hour. But averages can deceive. As a matter
of fact single instances of great wind velocities occur from each point of
the compass. The greatest velocity ever recorded at Philadelphia occurred
in October, 1878, when the wind blew seventy-five miles an hour from the
southeast. But the record velocities for eight of the other months were
registered in the northwest quadrant.

[Illustration: ALTO-STRATUS

_Courtesy of Richard F. Warren_

Not so high as cirro-stratus, and yet partaking of the same skeiny
texture. This would be a normal sky in winter about six hours after the
veil of cirrus had begun to throw its haze about the sun. No other cloud
formations appear, however, and so the area of precipitation is still
pretty far away. In summer such a sky is less common. If the disturbance
is to amount to anything the cirro-cumulus will soon form. If the wind is
from a westerly quarter the blanket of cloud is doubtless a drift from
some distant storm, which will not affect this locality. The wind is
always blowing toward a storm and away from clear weather.]

The period of time when the barometer is beginning to rise after having
been very low is that when the strongest winds blow.

Some sections of our country have special kinds of wind that are
peculiarly their own, notably Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana where the
chinook reigns. This phenomenon belongs only to the cold season and only
to the coldest days of it. It is a warm wind that begins to blow without
much warning from the southern quarter. It is caused by a body of cold air
suddenly falling from a great height. As it falls its descent heats it and
it causes a rise in the temperature of the surrounding locality that
greatly exceeds any rise from other causes. The increase in temperature
will be as much as forty degrees in fifteen minutes.

This sudden dry heat is a great snow-eater. If it were not for the chinook
the snow-blanket would stay so much longer on the cattle ranges that they
would be useless as such. In northeastern sections of our country and
Canada the warm winds blowing in from the ocean at the approach of a
cyclone do away with the snow rapidly but with nothing like the speed of
the chinook.

Another phenomenon of the air that is of tremendous benefit to man is the
sea-breeze. During the intense heat of a hot wave the wind may shift to
the east in Boston and in fifteen minutes coats are comfortable. Such a
shift may bring relief to a strip of land two hundred miles wide along our
entire eastern seaboard. The sea-breeze is explained by the fact that the
land cools more quickly than the sea and also warms more easily. During
the whole forenoon of a summer's day the sun has been pouring upon land
and sea, but the land-air has become much hotter than the air over the
sea. It rises and the sea-air rushes landward. By midnight the land has
cooled off even more than the sea and the heavier air now presses out to
sea again. On every normal day this balancing process takes place.

If it doesn't conditions are abnormal and chances are that mischief is
brewing. This ebb and flow of warmer and cooler air is, on a small scale,
exactly what is happening on a vastly larger field of operations between
cyclone and anticyclone. And it is the dominance of the anticyclone with
its prolonged rush of air from the northwest that interrupts the sea
breeze for two or three days in winter, as the cyclone prevents the night
land breeze from taking place when it is central off the eastern coast.

The exchange of air between mountain side and valley is similar to the
land-and-sea breeze. The rarer air on the mountain side heats faster by
day and cools faster by night than the denser air in the valley. Therefore
during the day it rises and the valley air rushes up to take its place;
during the night it cools and sinks into the valley. This is a great help
when one is shut up in a secluded valley for several days and cannot get a
good view of the skies. The atmosphere is acting properly and will remain
settled so long as the air blows up your ravine for most of the day, and
turns about sundown and blows out and down the ravine like a flood of
refreshing water.

Of course many valleys are so large as to be affected, not by these local
causes, but by the larger movements of the anticyclones when the
sure-clear west wind may blow up the valley for three days at a time. But,
nevertheless, for most mountainous places the logic holds and you may
expect rain if the wind does not blow coolly down the ravine at night. Of
course watch your clouds for confirmation.

In times of calm prepare for storm. An eminent meteorologist has frowned
upon me for saying that. It is not the whole truth, I admit, but there is
a certain kind of calm which happens often enough to justify the remark.
It happens this way. A severe storm has passed. The customary anticyclone
with its brisk northwest winds has arrived and is blowing with all the
vigor necessary to induce one to believe that the clear weather is to
continue for the usual length of time; that is, three or four days. But
suddenly in the early afternoon, just when it should be blowing its
hardest, the wind drops, lulls, shows a tendency to change its direction.
There is only one explanation. Another cyclone has developed off in the
west. It has knocked the anticyclone on the flank, taken the teeth out of
the gale.

The wind shows this before clouds can. The absence of wind when there
ought to be a lot shows it before even the first cirrus swims overhead.
The chance is that when the flow of anticyclonic air has been thus rudely
cut off and stillness follows, it will be storming by morning. It is best
to keep an eye on these abnormal, precipitous calms. In times of peace
prepare for rain.

But the eminent meteorologist was eminently right when he said that the
statement was misleading unless explained. For there are many kinds of
calms that do not portend coming storms. Nearly every day, winter and
summer, but particularly in summer, the wind drops to a calm at sunset.
That is a time of adjustment. After sunset when the accounts are all in
the wind springs up with as much force as it had in the afternoon and
continues until dawn. At sunrise, however, there is another truce. If this
truce is neglected either at sunrise or at sunset it is a sign that either
a cyclone on an anticyclone is very much in the ascendency. These truces
are most often observed at the seashore when you are out sailing and the
smell of supper fills your nostrils but is not sufficient to fill your
sails. These calms are normal and the best sign of a fair day on the
morrow, provided the other signs agree.

During the great transition period from summer to winter comes that
autumnal truce, Indian Summer, which is the chief claim to fame of
American weather. For day after day a brooding haze sleeps in the air,
sometimes for weeks there is no wind of any strength. Winter advances
insidiously in the fall but retreats in commotion, and the cooling off
process permits of these still days while they are uncommon in the spring.
The wind checks off more mileage in March than in any other month.

While the regular day's end calm and the calm of the year's exhaustion
mean continued fair weather, there is one calm that everybody knows, which
is the most dramatic moment in the whole repertory of the weather: the
foreboding, ten-count wait before the knockout blow of the thunderstorm.
But when that calm comes every one is already sitting tight so that it is
not much account as a warning. They say that the intense stillness before
the hurricane strikes is uncanny.

Whether inshore or afloat the wind is to be watched if you would know what
weather is to be. It is only another of Nature's paradoxes that the most
unstable element should be the most reliable guide of all on the uncertain
trail of the next day's weather.


Considering that the temperature of the sun is 14,072 degrees Fahrenheit
and the temperature of space is absolute zero, 459 degrees below ours, we
do very well on earth to be as comfortable as we are.

And we owe it all to the atmosphere which keeps the sun from concentrating
upon us. Our place in the sun is so very small that we intercept only
one-half of one billionth of the heat which it is giving off night and
day. But that is sufficient to do a lot of damage if it could get at us.

But even the paltry range of temperatures so far recorded on our
planet,--from 134 degrees above zero one day in California, to 90 degrees
below zero one night in Siberia,--is by no means a fair statement of the
extremes we are called upon to bear. Only twice a decade in our country
does the mercury vary as much as sixty degrees in twenty-four hours, and
there are vast areas where the daily change amounts to only a few degrees.

The changes that do come so suddenly to us, particularly in winter and
that are known as cold waves, are in reality beneficial. To them we
Americans may owe our energy, our vivacity, our changeability of mood. The
refrigerated, revivified air sweeping down from the north is tonic. It is
heavy, and issuing from antiseptic altitudes, drives the humid,
germ-nursing air from our city streets. If we had arranged a process of
refreshment like this at vast expense we should have been intensely proud
of it. As it is we are intensely annoyed at it and occasionally a few
people are frozen to death. The Weather Bureau warnings and the coal clubs
are reducing the loss in property and lives.

If you are sleeping out it is of great importance to know when the mercury
is going to take one of these swoops, for sleeping cold means little real
rest because one's muscles are tense, and the next day's packing needs all
the relaxation one can get. Two generalizations govern pretty much every
change of temperature: the mercury will rise before a storm and it will
fall after one, winter and summer, but much more conspicuously in winter.

There are two reasons for this. Our cyclones usually cross our country
over such a northern track that over most of the country the air drawn
into them comes from the southern quarters and is therefore warmer than
the air previously flowing from the anticyclone. Also the process of
precipitation causes heat. This is true to such an extent on the coast of
Ireland where it rains most of the time that a scientist has computed that
the inhabitants get from one-third to one-half as much heat from the
rainfall as they do directly from the sun. Thus a normal storm is doubly
sure to warm up the environment.

In summer the reverse is partially true, for very often the rain does not
begin until the actual center of depression has passed and the west winds
have begun to exercise their cooling influence. So that in summer we have
a sultry, sunny day as the first half of the storm area and then a cooling
shower. Also after two or three days of warm weather in spring and autumn
we have a rainstorm of the winter type which lowers the temperature
instead of raising it. This is because the heat produced by the storm is
less than that of the sun's rays intercepted by the clouds. The clear
skies of the preceding anticyclone had permitted the land to warm up very
fast under the midsummer sun, and the clouds of the cyclone, by cutting
off the supply, had made a relative chill.

In winter the sunrays are so much feebler because of their slant and
radiation proceeds so rapidly under the dry air of the anticyclone that a
much greater degree of cold is produced than when the cyclonic clouds
prevent the radiation. Therefore the rainy area is the warmest of all.
Even in summer the winds from the southeast, south, and southwest are
warmer than those from the opposite quarters, not only because they blow
from a quarter naturally warmer on account of the sun, but because they
are surface winds and have absorbed some of the heat from the soil. Being
denser, they absorb it more readily and hold it longer.

The change, then, from the period of fair weather to that of storm brings
an increase of temperature. But the rate of increase varies. The faster
the storm is approaching the faster the temperature will rise; and the
route of the storm's center makes all the difference as to the amount of
the rise. If the wind shifts by way of the north and holds in the
northeast until precipitation begins the rise in temperature will be very
slight. The great snowstorms of the northern half of the country occur
under just such a circumstance. If the wind shifts by way of the north but
gets around to the east or even southeast before the precipitation starts
the rise in temperature will be more pronounced, as much as thirty degrees
sometimes in a few hours, and the winter storm that started in as snow
soon changes to sleet and rain.

If the wind shifts by way of the south and then into the southeast the
rise will be vigorous and the storm will likely be a comparatively warm
rain. If the wind shifts only so far as the south the rise will be highest
of all and blue sky will often appear between the showers, showing that
the air is heated to a considerable height.

The progress of the temperature changes from the maximum of the cyclonic
area to the minimum of the anticyclone is also dependent upon the wind. If
the storm center is passing south and the wind begins to pull into the
northeast and north the temperature will fall steadily and slowly. The
rain or snow often cease gradually by the time the wind has reached the
north, but the temperature continues to fall slowly until it reaches very
low levels in mid-winter. If the storm center is passing north of you the
wind which has brought most of the rain while it was in the southeast with
comparatively high temperatures swings into the southwest, the temperature
falls somewhat.

There is usually a final downpour and a rapid shift of the wind into the
west or northwest, but almost never directly into the north. The
temperature falls several degrees in a few minutes, quite unlike the
gradual decline of the northeast-by-north shift, and clear skies come at
once with rapidly diminishing temperatures. In the vicinity of
Philadelphia a fall of twenty-five degrees would be most unusual on the
northeast shift,--such storms reaching 38 degrees and falling to 15,
while with the other shift a fall from 55 degrees to 15 would not be
unusual. Of course any one set of figures given could only show the
tendency and not the rule or limits.

After the manner of the wind-shift the intensity of the storm is a good
gauge of the temperature change to be expected by the camper. As a rule
the greater the intensity of the storm the greater will be the degree of
cold that follows it. The storms that have a complete wind circulation
about them are always more severe than those with incomplete circulation
and are invariably followed up by some reduction in temperature. If the
decrease is not proportionately great and the subsequent wind has only a
moderate clearing quality look out for another cyclone.

In such a case the temperature is the best witness of the contemplated
change. For instance, after a summer thunderstorm a decided coolness is
_de rigeur_. If this does not occur it means nearly every time that there
is another thunderstorm in process of construction. There may be not a
cloud in the sky, there may be no wind (although there should be) so that
the course of the thermometer is the only means of telling what is to be
the next event. Anybody can take a thermometer with him although a
barometer--the most accurate forecaster of all--may be thought too much
expense and bother.

At some future date the Weather Bureau will be able to predict the
temperature of seasons in advance. This, together with the amount of rain
scheduled to fall, will be an invaluable aid to everybody and to the
farmers most of all. At present mild seasons that have severe storms
without the appropriate degree of cold after them cannot be entirely
explained, let alone being prediscovered. They all hinge upon the more or
less permanent areas of high and low air pressure over the oceans and
international meteorological service has not progressed far enough to
support many ocean stations as yet.

Sometimes clear weather may intensify, growing brighter, stiller, colder.
This is because the pressure is increasing. Cold seasons are distinguished
usually by a succession of anticyclones. There is no way of telling how
long a certain spell of cold weather is to last, but I have noticed that
the same characteristics rarely predominate for longer than a month at a
time. In other words, if December has been warm and rainy, January will
likely be cold and dry. Of course, that is precisely the unscientific sort
of generalization which the Bureau very rightly frowns upon, but which
one may nurse privately until science has provided a substitute as she
already has in so many instances.

With a little practice it is an easy matter to estimate the temperature to
within a very few degrees. Try guessing for a few mornings and then look
at the thermometer. You will hit within three degrees every time after a
week of this.

Allowance must be made for the amount of moisture in the air and for the
force of the wind. Damp air feels colder by several degrees than crisp,
dry air, and a breeze increases the difference still more. Air in motion
is not necessarily colder than calm air. As a matter of fact the lowest
temperatures of all are recorded about sunrise after a still, clear night.
The amount of radiation accomplished during the last hours of the night is
amazing, and the downward impetus of the thermometer is often carried on
for an hour or more after the sun has appeared above the horizon. A
self-recording thermometer is an amusing toy which will show this and
becomes a valuable instrument if one raises fruit.

In winter three o'clock of an afternoon sees the highest temperature
usually, and in summer this maximum occurs as late as half-past five, due
to the fact that the sun can pour in its heat faster than the earth can
radiate it off. For the half hour before and after sunset, particularly in
winter, the loss of heat is relatively greatest; then the pace slackens
till three or four in the morning, when the plunge of the mercury is
accelerated until the rays of the rising sun counteract the radiation.

If the mercury does not rise appreciably on a clear winter's day it is a
sign that a cold wave is stealing in, due, doubtless, to a gradual
increase in pressure without its customary bluster. Very often snow
flurries predict its approach, but this may be so gradual that only the
restriction of the daily thermal rise may indicate it. By the next morning
the temperature will likely be twenty degrees colder.

If the mercury does not fall on a clear winter's night it is a sign that a
layer of moist air not far above the surface of the earth is checking the
normal night radiation. Unsettled weather is almost sure to follow unless
this wet blanket is itself dissipated and the mercury takes its customary
tumble before morning.

If the temperature falls while the sky is still covered with clouds
clearing, possibly after a little precipitation, will soon follow.

Hot waves approach insidiously. A night will not cool off as it properly
should, the sun will rise coppery, and while the day is yet young
everybody begins to realize that all is not exactly right. But the heat
increases usually for several days, not only by reason of steadily
lowering pressure, but also by accumulation. Finally when a climax is
reached it departs abruptly on the toe of a thunderstorm.

A cold wave reverses the process. It arrives abruptly on the heels of a
departing cyclone and, after losing power, steals away without any
commotion whatever. Its rate of progress is in close relation to the
cyclone ahead of it.

Our mountains play a great part in our weather. They are a right arm of
Providence to our agricultural communities. Due to their north and south
trend a cold wave of any severity reaches the Pacific Coast only once a
generation. Just once has snow been observed to fall at San Diego and it
is so rare south of San Francisco that many people never have seen a
flake. East of the mountains the belt of desert makes natural crops
impossible for a thousand miles, but if they crossed the continent all the
territory north of them would have such a cold climate that none of the
present enormous crops of Canada and our northern states could possibly be
grown. It is also due to the wide insweep of winds from the Gulf that
the plains states are so well watered.

[Illustration: CUMULUS

_Courtesy of Richard F. Warren_

The tops of cumulus are irregular, looking like wool-packs; the bases are
flat. The true cumulus shows a sharp outline all the way round. Its shape
is in constant change due to the strong winds it is encountering. It is
caused by the swift uprush of warm air on a sunny day. This cloud is a
sign of fair weather, because the base is not large, compact, or dark
enough to threaten rain and its comrades are also disjointed. If the
cumulus grow darker toward the horizon and increase toward evening a
squall is likely.]

In lesser fashion the Appalachians protect the Atlantic seaboard. They
withstand the impact of the cold waves to a great extent, although they
are not high enough to divert the flow of cold air entirely toward the
south and it is not desirable that they should. As things are the cold
strikes Alabama before it hits New Jersey, and is often more severe there.

Comparative cold is often registered by the green color of the sky. A
fiery red continues the prevailing heat.

The day that is ushered in by a fog, in summer, will likely be warm,
providing the fog lifts by ten o'clock.

The temperature of a night with even a thin covering of clouds will be a
good deal higher than if the sky is clear. In the British Isles the whole
difference between freezing and no freezing lies with the fairness of the
heavens. Everywhere frost will not form while the sky is covered, although
the temperature may be below the freezing point. In summer radiation on a
still clear night may be so rapid that frost may follow a temperature of
fifty degrees at nightfall.

The temperature at the surface of the earth may easily deceive, as a
colder or warmer stratum of air may overlie that immediately next to the
ground. I have seen water particles fall when the temperature was as low
as 16 degrees above zero, showing that the stratum of cold air was very
thin. Our sleet storms in which immense damage is done to trees and
telegraph wires occurs from just such a situation,--a cold, shallow layer
of air close to the earth, with the warm moisture-bearing air flowing over
it. The reverse of this situation is not uncommon--the sight of a
snowstorm proceeding merrily along with the ground temperature at 35 or
even 40 degrees.

Coming warmth may be noticed by the increase in size of snow flakes, with
finally hail and rain. Coming cold is foreshadowed by hail mixed with the
rain and lastly snow flakes which have a tendency to decrease in size.
Colors of the clouds predict temperature changes, but it takes much
practice to distinguish the cold, hard grays from the soft, warm ones. A
warm sky is always less uniform in color than a cold one. The colors of
winter sunsets are, as a rule, much brighter than those of summer skies.

The stars seem brighter on a night that is to be cold. If they twinkle it
is because of rushing air currents, and if the wind is from the northwest
the result may be a subsequent lowering of temperatures.

The whole question of whether it will be colder and how much is vital to
the camper and if the signs of change are taken along with the look of the
clouds and the direction of the wind he need never be wrong as to the
direction the mercury is going, and will soon be able to guess the
distance pretty fairly.


East of the Mississippi River rain falls with the utmost impartiality upon
every locality. Thirty to fifty inches are delivered at intervals of three
or four days throughout the year. And if there is a slight irregularity in
delivery one can be sure that from 125 to 150 of the 365 days will be
rainy. Occasionally there is a more or less serious hold up of supplies,
but this rarely happens in the spring of the year and never happens to all
sections at once. And if there is a desire to make amends for the drought,
we have what we call a flood and blame it on the weather instead of on our
precipitous denudation of the watersheds.

West of the Mississippi particular people have to go to particular places
for their rain. If they like a lot of it they must go to the coast
districts of Washington or Oregon where they can have it almost every day.
It rains a good deal at Eastport, Maine,--about 45 inches a year; that is,
nearly an inch a week,--but at Neal Bay, Washington, at about the same
latitude, in one year it rained 140 inches, and it never stops short of
100 inches any year.

On the other hand, if the Washington people are tired of it they need only
escape to Arizona where it rains about two inches a year, and they can
live in an enterprising hotel down there whose manager believes that it
pays to advertise the sun. He guarantees to provide free board on every
day that the sun doesn't shine.

In the plateau section enough snow falls every year to store up enough
water for irrigation purposes, and the little rain that falls arrives in
just the right season to do the most good, the spring. In California what
the farmers lose in amount they make up in the regularity of its arrival.

North of the Ohio River most of the precipitation from November to April
is snow. About 50 inches of it falls on the average over this tremendous
territory. And it is more useful than rain,--the handy blanket that makes
lumber-hauling easy, that keeps the ground from freezing to Arctic
depths, that fertilizes the soil, and that acts as a great reservoir,
holding over the meat and drink of the vegetable kingdom till the thirsty
time arrives. In upper Michigan and Maine the average depth becomes 100
inches. Averages are very misleading when snowfall is being considered,
some winters producing very scanty amounts and others heaping it on to the
depth of 185 inches once at North Volney, New York.

South of the Ohio the depth varies from substantial amounts in some
winters to almost nothing in others. Snow has been observed, however, in
every part of our country except the extreme southern tip of Florida. Once
and only once on the records a great three-day snowstorm visited all of
southern California, extending to the Mexican border and to the coast.

The strip of country between the parallels of New York City and Richmond
comprises the section wherein each winter storm is one large guess as to
whether the precipitation is to be snow or rain. A compromise is usually
affected in this way. Before the clouding up began the mercury may have
stood at ten degrees below zero. As soon as the wind acquired an easterly
slant the temperature increased. As it neared the freezing point the snow
would begin, first in flakes of medium size which would enlarge until
after a particularly heavy fall of a few minutes they would at once almost
cease. Hail soon would succeed, the mercury still rising, and often the
hail would have turned to rain before the freezing point of the air of the
immediate surface of the earth had been reached, turning the snow already
on the ground to slush and making a holiday for germs.

One can always tell when this change to warmer is about to occur because
the clouds which have been part and parcel with the obscuring snow
suddenly show, not lighter but darker. The sudden increase in size of the
flakes is another infallible symptom of increasing warmth in the
atmosphere for each large flake is a compound of many smaller ones. When
the temperature is low the flakes are very small, being grains and
spicules in the severe blizzards of the west and falling as snow-dust in
the Arctic. In the heavy storms of the guessing-belt the flakes are not
necessarily small.

I have noticed (in the latitude of Philadelphia) that our largest storms
begin very leisurely indeed with small and regular-sized flakes. A quarter
of an inch may not fall in the first hour. As the center nears the snow
comes ever faster and larger, but not large, flakes are mixed with the
original-sized flakes. Snow dust is apparent. At the height of the storm
flakes of all sizes except the very large are falling, denoting great
activity in the strata of air within the storm influence. In the ordinary
storm an accumulation at the rate of an inch an hour denotes a storm of
considerable intensity.

The snow will likely keep on falling as long as the flakes are irregular
in size. If they grow large and few or very small a cessation is likely,
even though the wind is still blowing from an easterly quarter. The amount
of snow likely to fall can be gauged not only by the process of
flake-change but by the rate at which the wind rises. A storm's intensity
is measured by the amount of wind. A storm can be a storm without a drop
of rain or flake of snow if only there be enough wind. And as long as the
wind in a snowstorm keeps rising the storm is likely to go on, probably
increasing in volume of precipitation.

If the wind shows a tendency to edge around to the southeast there is
danger of the snow turning to rain; if the wind veers slowly to the
northeast the temperature will fall slowly and the rate of precipitation
will likely increase for a while. In such instances the snow does not
continue to fall after the wind has swung west of north. Often clearing
takes place with the wind still in the north or even a point east of

Contrary to superstition snow may begin to fall at any hour of the day or
night. But certain hours seem more propitious than others, owing no doubt
to the tendency of cooling air to condense. Three o'clock of an afternoon
and eight o'clock in the morning are favorite times, the one being the
hour of a winter afternoon when cooling is begun, the other the hour when
the coldest time is reached and condensation likely if at all. Of course,
one remembers storms beginning at nine, ten, eleven, and every other hour.

Storms that begin in the morning seldom reach much activity before three
o'clock in the afternoon, while those that begin then quickly increase in
intensity as evening draws near and the sun's warmth is withdrawn from the
upper air-strata. More snow falls at night than in the daytime, also. Snow
is more delicate than rain and perhaps more responsive than rain to the
subtle changes of the atmosphere. Possibly there is no ground on the
Bureau records for these ideas, possibly storms have a tendency to start
from the Gulf on their northeastward journey and so reach Philadelphia
oftener at one time than another. I would like my notions confirmed that
snowstorms increase at nightfall, and that they prefer to start operations
at sunrise and about sunset.

For the camper the snowstorm need have no terrors. It gives a long warning
of its approach. It comes mostly without destructive winds. Its upholstery
protects and warms the walls of one's tent. It adds beauty to the leafless
woods, interest to the trailer, and a hundred amusements among the hills.

But the value of snowy weather is not only measured by its beauties and
commercial uses. There is another way: make it read character for you.
Watch the reactions toward the first snowfall of half a dozen kinds of
people. It will show you what they are; give you a very fair measure of
their youth.

Our atmosphere contains a lot of moisture that never gets precipitated.
You can prove this on any warm day by noticing the way the atmosphere acts
toward a glass of ice-water. When the air of the room is much warmer than
the surface of the glass it surrenders its moisture willy nilly. Sometimes
this condensation is enough to cause a miniature rainstorm that trickles
down the outside of the tumbler. If a small cold surface can wring so much
water out of a little air it is small wonder that we get an inch or so of
rain from vast currents of air at unequal temperatures.

Try to visualize the process. A stream of vapor has been warmed and is
ascending. A mile up and it has cooled not only by the reason of altitude
but also by the process itself. About each little dust-particle in the
surrounding area vapor forms--vapor cannot form without something to form
on, there being always enough dust from deserts and volcanoes to go round.
If the cooling proceeds the tiny globules enlarge and as they increase in
weight they settle and fall. Falling, they unite with others.

If the air-strata are very warm and thick the drops may grow to a very
considerable size. We see these in the middle of our great winter rains
when the insweep of southern winds with all their warmth and moisture is
very extensive. Also the first few drops that come from the thick, hot
lips of the thundercloud are usually immense.

The best way to measure the size of a raindrop is to have it fall in a box
of dry sand. It rolls up the sand and measurements can be easily and
accurately made. But the most interesting way is to let the first drops of
the thunderstorm fall upon a sheet of blotting paper. If the same sort of
blotting paper is used the measurements will be of just as much importance
for comparison. Circles as big as teacups are formed sometimes.

Heavy drops in winter mean a heavy fall, because they denote high
temperatures which are uncommon and are bound to be followed by
considerable condensation as the cooling proceeds back to normal
temperatures. Small drops in summer mean either cooler weather, or sudden
condensation. Small drops in winter are a sign of very thin
moisture-bearing strata, or low temperatures, indicating that the rain
will be light, protracted, and liable to change to snow.

Hail is frozen rain. Winter hail is small and harmless and rarely falls to
any depth because the exact temperatures that bring forth the hail rarely
continue for very long at a time. Hail in winter is merely the stepping
stone to either rain or snow. But in summer hail is a serious matter. It
shows that there is a violent disturbance of the atmosphere in progress.
Vertical air currents, probably abetted by electricity,--the authorities
are not sure--often carry the stones up several times. They take on layer
after layer, coalesce, and sometimes fall the size of eggs, apples, or any
other fruit, barring melons. The usual summer hail does not exceed the
size of a robin's egg. Even a projectile of that size, however, falling
for a half mile or more has a tremendous destructive power. Greenhouses
suffer, birds are killed, cattle stunned, and loss of life has been known
to follow. In August in 1851 in New Hampshire hailstones fell to the
weight of 18 ounces, diameter 4 inches, circumference 12 inches. In
Pittsburgh stones weighing a full pound have crashed down, and in Europe
where many destructive storms have occurred there are official records of
even greater phenomena. The lightning accompanying these hailstones is
usually very severe. A flake or ball of snow forms the nucleus of a

If a thundercloud looks particularly black or if it can be seen in
commotion think of hail and seek shelter. It is pretty difficult to
predict exactly when hail is going to fall in summer. It is a possibility
with every large storm, but a probability with only a very few during the
summer. It accompanies tornadoes.

In winter hail falls before a rainstorm, even when the ground temperature
precludes the possibility of snow; some lingering stratum of cold air has
ensnared the drops on their way down.

Snow is not frozen rain. It has an origin of its own. It is born in a
temperature consistently below freezing and on the condensation of the
invisible moisture becomes visible as a tiny crystal. These infinitesimal
crystals unite and form larger, hexagonal shapes, elongated or starry.
They are wafted along, sinking, all slightly differing one from another,
although forming a few types. These types have been photographed and
catalogued and very often the altitude from which the snow is coming may
be learned from their shape and design. But this branch of science is
young yet and confusing and the outdoor man has surer signs of the
vicissitudes of the storm, in the general size of the flakes, the power
and direction of the wind, the clouds and temperature. The possibilities
of flake-study as a means of forecasting are many and of value as is
anything that tends to unveil the secrets of the greater heights.

Snowflakes are so light that after the storm processes are over and the
sun has come out the residue may still float lazily to the ground.

The wild disorder of the snow flurry will only last a few minutes and
never leave much snow on the ground.

Snowstorms that come on the wings of the west wind may be severe, but they
will be short. They are unusual in the east, but sometimes the heaviest
snows of the western states come on the sudden cooling that follows the
shift to west.

Snowstorms arriving on a high wind last only a few hours.

Snowstorms that are long in gathering and increase to considerable
intensity continue a long while.

Those that follow a sudden clouding up are of no importance.

The snowstorms that leave on a high wind from the west or northwest are
followed by a cold wave. Those that continue after the storm wind has died
away are succeeded by calm, clear, and usually warmer weather.

In northern districts a snowstorm may be looked for after a period of cold
weather. In middle districts if the cold has been severe the reaction to
warmer may bring rain instead. In such cases generalities are of no use,
and the possibilities must be determined by the man on the spot. The best
conditions for snow through the middle districts are occasioned by an area
of low-pressure with its attendant precipitation crossing the southern
half of the country while the northern half is under the influence of an
area of high-pressure with its attendant frigidity. The cold air flows
into the southern storm with the result that the middle districts get the
northern quadrants of the storm which are the usual snow-bearing ones
instead of the southern rain-bearing quadrants that they would have got if
the center of the storm had pursued its usual course up the Ohio and down
the St. Lawrence.

If the storm has two centers, one over Texas and the other over Montana,
as is so frequently the case in winter, the subsequent high pressure will
come too late to affect the temperature of the zone of precipitation and
the latter will likely be rain in the middle districts. Sometimes the
cyclones cross the country on the Canadian border and enough warm air is
sucked over the line to give the inhabitants of Montreal a thaw and rain.
This happens to them only once or twice a winter. And even more rarely a
cyclone over the Gulf with an anticyclone above it will give the Gulf
States a taste of winter, but rarely more than a few flakes.

It really all depends on the influx of air, its rate and direction. It
rains in Alaska and snows in Georgia on the same day merely because at one
place the air is coming off the Pacific, and at the other it is flowing
from the center of a refrigerated continent.

And the progress of these storms is one of Nature's greatest poems if you
take a minute to think of them sweeping on in majesty, the one thing that
man cannot control. Even the snow which is the citizens' curse as well as
the farmers' blessing becomes epic when it beleaguers an empire for half a


The very process that made the tumbler of ice-water sweat on the hot day
causes dew. And the formation of frost is analogous to that of snow. Frost
is not frozen dew, but the formation of moisture crystals at the
temperature of 32° or below. Frost or dew form only on still, cloudless
nights. Even if no clouds are visible, neither will form if a stratum of
humid air has prevented radiation. Hence either dew or frost is a fairly
good sign of clear weather.

Three white frosts on successive mornings are followed by a rain. This
saying holds water not because there is any virtue in frost to cause rain,
but because a storm is normally due once a week. The frosts did not form
when the anticyclonic winds were blowing and usually not more than three
mornings elapse between the time that the anticyclone has lost its
influence and the time for the next cyclone to appear. Frost indicates a
considerable amount of moisture in the atmosphere, also, which tends to
increase as the cyclone approaches.

The heaviest dews come in late summer and the heaviest frosts in
mid-autumn because the change in temperature is greatest then and there is
a greater chance that there will be a calm at sunrise. The greatest frost
damage occurs in the spring because the tenderer crops are growing then.
Summer frosts used to occur in the northern parts of Minnesota and along
the southern boundaries of the inland Canadian provinces before the
forests were cleared off. The march of civilization has actually pushed
back the frost line some distance.

Frost may occur when the amount of humidity in the air is low and the
barometer rising at any temperature under 50 degrees at nightfall, the
clear skies permitting radiation enough under those circumstances to
produce the necessary cooling. An evening temperature of 40 degrees with
the clear skies and faint west breeze will almost surely produce a frost,
provided the wind drops. In such circumstances the only hope for the
farmer is that there is enough humidity in the air to cause a fog before
the frost-point is reached. A temperature touching 34 degrees would not
bring frost, however, if the sky was at all overcast. Frost is difficult
to predict because a night shift in the wind, cloudiness that forms after
midnight, or even a wind arising before the coolest period at dawn will
prevent its formation. On the other hand, clouds may disperse, the wind
may fall or radiation may be so rapid before sunrise as to cause a killing
frost unawares. The farmer who lives in areas disputed by winter and
spring may never be quite sure, but precautions should be taken on the
still, clear, dry nights with the thermometer at fifty or below.

Fruit-growers resort to fires or to coverings to protect their crops. The
fires are particularly worth while, not so much for their heat which at
best cannot be expected to warm up the great outdoors much, but for the
smoke which prevents radiation. A line of smudges such as campers use to
ward off the mosquito would spread a pall of smoke over an orchard
efficaciously. A snowstorm, the soft fluffy sort that falls in April or
May, can do much less damage to vegetation than a severe frost.

Temperatures are much lower on the ground than even six feet above the
grass. Naturally these temperatures are those that really influence most
vegetation and in England temperatures on the grass are given in the
weather report with the ordinary observations, being as much as six or
eight degrees lower on clear nights.

In some of the hot, dry countries, such as Arabia and Egypt, most of the
moisture that they receive falls in the form of dew. Falls, of course, is
a loose expression as the dew forms and does not fall, being different
from the minute particles of fog. The fog particles in suspension in the
air are estimated to be as small as 1-180th of an inch. When they grow to
1-80th of an inch in diameter they commence to fall. Fogs are chiefly
caused by the soil being warmer than the air above it; the vapor on rising
condenses and becomes visible. In the spring and fall currents of air blow
over rivers at different temperatures and the result is a fog. One does
not have a fog in the desert.

There are places in the ocean with cold and warm currents with the air
above them correspondingly different where fog is of almost constant
occurrence. The Gulf Stream off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland has a
temperature of 78 degrees, while the water on the Banks is 45 degrees so
that fogless days are rare along the line of meeting.

Frost is known in every part of our country, many localities in the
plateau section being exposed to it every month of the year. The thin air
and cloudless skies of the altitudes make radiation very easy and the
daily variation of temperature is much wider than along the humid coasts.
Those who have never looked into frost conditions throughout our country
will be surprised to read the warnings of the Weather Bureau.

From the station at Pensacola, Florida (frost-proof Florida!), comes this
statement: "Vegetables are subject to damage by frost during all seasons
of the year."

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, "Frost is likely to damage fruit or other crops
in May and September."

Phoenix, Arizona, "Frost is likely to do damage in December, February, and

Baker City, Oregon, "Fruit and other crops are most liable to damage by
frost in April, May, June, September, and October."

Kalispell, Montana, "Frost damage for fruit, May 15th to July 10th; for
grain, June 25th to August 1st."

Montgomery, Alabama, "During March, April, and May fruit and early
vegetables are subject to damage by frost."


Probably nothing in the world causes more terror than a flash of
lightning. In an able-bodied thunderstorm playing about a city there are
several dozen flashes, and every one of them brings trepidation, fright,
or positive terror to thousands of human beings,--oftenest women,
sometimes men, and occasionally children. Yet probably there is no alarm
in the world so ill-founded.

Thunderstorms play pretty generally over our three million square miles
with their hundred million population. Yet lightning picks out of this
crowd only three hundred people a year who are foolish enough to be
killed. That is, only three persons in each million to be sacrificed to
the most astounding and beautiful display in the world, a mere handful
compared to the mounds of motor car victims or to the 33,068 deaths a year
attributable to railroads and the perils of track-walking.

The trouble about the thunderstorm is that it does not lull one into the
sense of insecure repose. It is too obviously after one. If the thunder
were toned down a bit and the lightning a trifle duller the alliance might
claim its thousands, like the inconspicuous housefly, and never meet an
objection. But until the thunderstorm foregoes its bravado it will
continue to bully the ladies into hysterics.

Of course, there is always the sporting chance that you are one of the
three in your particular million to perish.

But you can lessen the chance. You must not seek refuge under a tree. You
should not take doubtful shelter in a barn. And you had best not sit in a
draft by an open window if there is a tree just outside it. By these three
avenues most of the thoughtless three hundred (a year) invite their end.

Trees that are tall and otherwise exposed are struck oftenest. The
electricity in the cloud and the electricity in the earth are always
endeavoring to combine. When this tendency becomes so strong that the
resistance of the intervening air is counteracted the electric discharge
between thundercloud and earth takes place. This happens most frequently
from some pointed thing as a steeple, a tree if they are good conductors.
Men and animals are sometimes charged with the electricity opposite to
that of the cloud. When the lightning is discharged, even at a distance,
the bodies revert rapidly from the electric to the natural state. This
return shock or concussion occasionally proves fatal.

That is the reason that trees are such poor protectors from the storm's
fury. Better a wet skin in the middle of a field than precarious dryness
under an oak or cherry or tall pine or almost any other tree. If it should
hail hard enough to stove in your head take to a beech or a small spruce.

Barns are struck so often because the body of warm, dry air in them favors
the passage of electricity. Those who hide in barns are sometimes
cremated. After a severe thunderstorm in the Poconos I have seen as many
as three barns on fire at once.

Open windows, porches, and exposure generally are safe, but not safest.
The cellar, that old stamping ground, is where instinct takes a few. Any
closed room on the side of a house away from trees is good enough. But the
risk of annihilation is so very small that one is repaid for taking it by
the spectacle. A great thunderstorm surpasses anything in nature in the
matter of architecture, coloring, directness, and surprise,--which, with
selection, comprise the essentials of art. Imagine the crowds that would
pay to wonder at the sight if a thunderstorm could be staged, say, at the

Some hot morning, if you have time to watch, you may see a thunderstorm
born in the mountains. The warm, moist air flows up the mountainside and
the essential start is made. Cooling, this air first shows as a fluffy
cloud that soon grows harder in appearance and becomes tufted at the top.
Its little belly swells and grows blacker. It hovers over the valley.
Others add to it. Suddenly a sort of adolescent thunder is heard. The
tension has become too great. A definite consolidation is visible, a
fringe lowers, and a few drops of rain may reach you.

The incipient storm moves off, and having started a whirl within itself,
increases, like a rumor, as it goes. Before it has moved beyond your
horizon it may have become a large patch of dark blue with billowy white
crests on the top, and underneath hangs a curtain of rain. Chances are
that it will not go far before encountering conditions that dispel it, but
it may cover half a dozen counties before nightfall. As a rule these
little heat thunderstorms do not amount to a great deal. They are
originated by local conditions and leave things pretty much as they found

But when a cyclone is passing in summer a series of thunderstorms or heavy
showers with some thunder frequently take place instead of the all day
winter rain. These thunderstorms mount up against the wind. Their clouds
are black. The word black is an indulgence of the human weatherman
meaning, of course, any dark color,--a black sky would terrify the most
hardened of meteorologists.

The cyclone winds come from the south or southeast just as they do in
winter, but this quarter may not bring the heaviest rainfall in summer.
There may be showers or even clear skies, but the day will be humid and
hot. A haze of cirro-stratus cloud will gradually overspread the sky from
the west, darkening into a blue from the original whitish or gray.
Lightning does not appear from the cirrus, but after the sky has grown
pretty dark a ridge or tumbled cloud will be seen low on the western
horizon. Meanwhile the wind will have died down.

The lightning, at first only a faint glimmer, will have become more
frequent and noticeable. If it is striking at a distance of fifteen miles
the thunder will not be heard. As soon as the storm center, where the
heaviest rain and the electrical display are taking place, gets within the
fifteen-mile radius thunder will be heard to growl, and the tumbled
cumulus clouds which may have lain along the horizon for hours will begin
to approach. The storm will be upon you in ten minutes likely after the
arc of foreboding blue and white cottony cloud has begun its charge across
the sky. Light quickly fades from the heavens. The wind drops entirely.
Streaks of lightning burn downward.

Behind the arc stretches a curtain of uniform blue or gray. If the gray is
lighter in places the rainfall will not be heavy. If the curtain is a
uniform blue a heavy rain is sure. If the bow of clouds can be seen to
tumble or is continuous and approaches fast the wind is certain to be
severe,--may be from 30 to 60 miles an hour for the first few minutes.
Sometimes a cloud of dust advancing before it demonstrates its force.

This moment immediately before the storm breaks is the dramatic moment of
the entire cyclone. As in a tragedy, the interest has built up to this
supreme occasion, this knife thrust, from which interest recedes until
clear skies show that the play is over. From 12 to 36 hours is the usual
time required in winter. In summer the cyclone takes even longer to pass a
given point, but the period of rainfall, in which the winter storm's
amount is often surpassed, may not last fifteen minutes. First the blow,
then a crash of thunder, and the rain in big drops, which lessen rapidly
in size as the whole world seems involved in the vast forces of the storm
center. Most of the precipitation occurs in the first fifteen minutes,
sometimes in the first five. A hearty storm will deliver an inch in short
order. Although the rain continues often for an hour and sometimes in the
storms that are attached to a well-defined cyclonic system there will be
two or three robust thunderstorms in succession, yet the first downpour is
usually the torrential one and the others die away until the conditions
that caused the outbreak have passed off. With the severer storms hail

The general condition of the air after a thunderstorm is cooler, dryer,
and more invigorating than before. Ozone has been liberated, dust has been
washed from the air and vegetation. The surest sign of a continuation of
unsettled weather is the failure of the atmosphere to cool off. If the air
remains sultry and heavy and depressing another shower is due. In such
circumstances the wind will not have begun to blow with any great promise
from the west.

A close, sultry morning is the best indication of a thunder-gust. The
large piles of cumulus clouds are called thunderheads for the very reason
that they almost always precede a thunderstorm. The heaviest electrical
disturbances have cirrus clouds a few hours in advance of them very much
as their winter relatives. A thunderstorm that does not cause the
barometer to fall considerably will not amount to a great deal.

At night the different kinds of lightning furnish a running commentary to
the storm. On calm evenings the sky will be cloudless, with perhaps the
exception of a low rim on the northern horizon. Yet flashes of lightning,
of course without thunder, may be seen illuminating that entire quadrant
of the sky. This is called heat lightning and is popularly supposed to be
the result of the heat only. As a matter of fact it is caused by a normal
thunderstorm that is operating below the horizon. Reflections from this
storm are shown on the rim of clouds, or if no clouds are visible, on the
bowl of the sky. If you see lightning be sure that there is a storm

If this disembodied sort of lightning continues to flash from the western
sky it is quite possible that the storm will reach you. If it shows on the
northwest or north of you the chances are that the storm will be carried
around. If the wind is from the southwest and the lightning appears there
only the progress of the clouds will show whether the storm is pursuing
the normal track from the west and around you or whether it is edging up
toward you. One cannot be very well surprised by a thunderstorm of any
energy in camp as the lightning shows as much as two hours before the
storm breaks and the thunder gives fifteen minutes' notice on most

The sort of lightning that spends itself illuminating the clouds in
serpents and willowy branches confines itself to the altitudes and is very
beautiful and harmless. It is accompanied by thunder that sounds hollow,
that rumbles over the sky, and usually does not end with the crash and
thud of the more vigorous variety. Such lightning and such thunder are
more often connected with the sort of storm that comes up very swiftly on
a western wind. It gives shorter warning than any other sort of
thunderstorm and is not connected with the cyclonic area. I have known
such a storm to manifest itself low in the west, approach, and break
within twenty minutes. Much wind results and not much rain, although the
temperature falls. Lightning with storms of this impromptu kind rarely
does any damage.

But if the storm rises slowly against the wind, requiring an hour or two
or three to approach and break, the lightning will grow almost
continuously, some of the flashes being broad streamers cleaving the
western sky. It is this sort of lightning that does the damage. The
thunder, instead of rolling like an empty barrel, hits into a series of
concussions. If the lightning strikes an object nearby the crash is
rather appalling. There are several freak sorts of lightning such as the
ball form, which are rare.

The approach of the center of disturbance may be gauged by the length of
time that elapses between flash and crash. In reality the thunder occurs
immediately after the discharge of electricity, but sound travels so
slowly, compared to light, that a minute may intervene between stroke and
clap. You may count the seconds, noticing the regular decrease, signifying
the nearing of the crisis. Soon a flash in front and a simultaneous peal
will show you that you are in the thick of things. The next bolt or two
may hit very close and you can appreciate what it means to be on the
firing line. Then the next river of fire with its detonation streams
behind you and you are saved.

In a severe thunderstorm there are several centers, several nuclei that
shed destruction like great batteries and their progress over and beyond
you has its thrills. You may find the exact number of feet away that the
bolt hit by multiplying the number of seconds elapsing between the
lightning and thunder by 1120. But an easier way is to allow a mile for
every five seconds on the watch. One or two seconds, and you are pretty
near the center of the fray.

Lightning compresses the air, leaving a partial vacuum. The other air
rushing in to fill this partial vacuum forms the wave motion that produces
the noise. That is the whole why of thunder. The reason thunder rolls is
that the lightning is a series of discharges each of which gives rise to a
particular detonation. If lightning were but one discharge, the thunder
would be but one stupefying crash. Reflections from the clouds and from
layers of air of different densities and from the ground are agencies that
prolong the sound.

Our atmosphere is never lacking in electricity. This electricity is always
positive in clear weather and sometimes negative in cloudy. Science
concludes, then, that negative electricity invariably indicates rain,
hail, or snow within a radius of forty miles.

Moist air is a good conductor. Our powerful motors can now produce a spark
of electricity several feet long. But some of the flashes that shoot
across the sky in a big storm extend over five miles. The duration of the
flash varies from 1-300th of a second to a second. The reason that
lightning does not always pass imperially along a straight line is that
some air, either moister or warmer than the air around it, offers less
resistance. The lightning takes this line of least resistance along the
pathway of warmer or less dense air.

Altitudes of thunderclouds vary. They may hover above the earth at 800
feet. They may be a mile high. They have been observed on peaks of
mountains three miles high. Many other electrical phenomena are observed
in the mountains. The study of these will undoubtedly benefit meteorology
and perhaps go far to explain the unsolved problems of the Service.

One kind of thunderstorm that is rather rare is that which arrives in
winter with the passage of an energetic cyclone. Often when the wind,
having been in the southeast for most of the storm, is passing around and
reaches the south or southwest the rainfall culminates in a deluge and
thunder is heard. One or two such storms are a winter's complement. They
usually terminate the rainfall for that particular cyclone. I have never
heard of damage caused by these winter electrical storms, and they occur
only in exceptionally well-developed areas of low pressure.

Lightning has many times been observed during heavy snow storms. I have
never heard any thunder with it. The discharge must have been very faint.

[Illustration: STRATUS

_Courtesy of Richard F. Warren_

Stratus is merely lifted fog in a horizontal form, the lowest of all, and
the simplest as regards structure. It means neither rain nor snow and the
apparent clearness of the blue above it would indicate clear weather to
come. But through the break in the stratus near the horizon shows a cloud
of firmer texture, which is less reassuring. Stratus over the land in
winter takes the appearance of long bolsters of gray through which a pale
blue sky shines. Such clouds may blanket the sky for days without causing
a drop of rain. If they show a tendency to glaze over expect snow or rain,
but not in large quantities.]

The fascination that a thunderstorm has for many people is explained
partially by the fact that one sees the whole process from beginning to
end. The officials of the Weather Bureau have this privilege as regards
cyclones. It is their business and pleasure to watch the setting up of
these vast storms, to follow them on their journey. It is small wonder
then that they find the spectacle fascinating.


The birds, the flowers, and the tornadoes are all busiest in spring. And
the tornadoes probably make the largest impression.

A tornado is merely a whirl of air, caused, as are all the other whirls,
by a striking difference in temperature in adjacent areas. A tornado is a
local and restricted example of the same thing that a cyclone is. But a
tornado rarely crosses more than a single state; a cyclone strides
continents. A tornado lasts, in one place, about a minute; a cyclone
affects the weather for three days. A tornado never survives the night; a
cyclone plods on for a week. And yet if you are betting on destruction put
your money on the tornado. What it lacks in the realms of space and time
it makes up in intensity. Its sting is fatal.

Tornadoes occur chiefly in the spring because the temperature changes are
greatest then and it is from these that the tornado sucks its nourishment.
Over the plains, for example, a limited area is abnormally heated by a
local cause. Abnormal cold comes in contact with the abnormal heat. The
great difference in pressure results in a spiral as it did in the cyclone,
only in a very small spiral, and once begun its energy is
self-aggravating. The whole thing moves off toward the northeast attended
by the black cloud of its condensation. From the black cloud a funnel like
an elephant's trunk sways back and forth, now touching the ground and now
escaping it. The black cloud has been in the southwest for some time
probably before it has commenced to move. The day has been very
oppressive. The sun rose rather coppery, in all likelihood. As the black
cloud with the swaying funnel nears a roaring is heard. Darkness falls.
The roar increases.... Instantly it is over.

Now that you've been through a tornado you know how it feels,--almost.
After the funnel passes hail falls, lightning flashes through the
lessening murk. Heavy rain succeeds, and if you're alive you go out and
rescue the perishing.

The wind velocity in the path of a tornado is enormous,--anything up to
500 miles an hour,--but no instruments have been devised to withstand the
strain. Varying pressures are responsible for the destruction. As the
funnel passes over a house where the normal air pressure is about 2,000
pounds to the square foot it removes 1,500 pounds for an instant.
Naturally the outside walls cannot withstand this enormous inside out
pressure and the house explodes like a projectile. Only under such
conditions could the vagaries of matter,--straws piercing logs and
chickens bereft of every feather--be perhaps not explained but pardoned.

Stories of any degree of incredibility crop up after each tornado, often
with accompanying photographs as proof. People are plastered with mud,
pianos are deposited in neighboring lots, babies are hung up unhurt by
their clothes in tree-tops, and often one person is killed and another
nearby escapes unhurt, Bible-fashion.

Tornadoes may form almost anywhere, but they are never found on the
immediate Pacific coast. They are most common in the Mississippi Valley,
are rather common in the Gulf States, and have occurred throughout most of
the East at one time or another.

Since there is no way of stopping them the next best thing is to know the
conditions that make for their formation. If the Weather Bureau predicts
a cold wave for sections of the country where the weather is already
abnormally warm the line of meeting will probably produce a tornado
somewhere. The officials, however, advise you not to worry until you see
the intensely black cloud in the southwest trailing its funnel. See where
this funnel is tending and run the other way. All tornadoes progress from
the southwest to the northeast. Bad as they are, this makes them far less
terrifying than if they whipped back and forth over a town or chased you
around the pasture. If you happen to be in the house, take to the cellar,
the southwest corner of it. If you can't escape lie face down to the

The only tornado that I have ever witnessed was an undeveloped one in
England, and a bit lethargic compared to those of the Prairie States. But
even this blew an entire train off the track. It had all the other
appurtenances of a tornado, the hail, the twisted trees, the narrow
southwest to northeast path. The fact that the houses had only corners of
their roofs blown off showed that as a tornado it was distinctly
second-grade and without power to explode.

England, shortly after, was raided by three water-spouts. These phenomena
are caused by precisely the same conditions as are the tornadoes. They
form over the sea, and the funnel is composed of water. They take
considerable bodies of water up into the skies and torrential rains result
over adjacent districts. If I remember correctly, two of the English
water-spouts broke against the cliffs and the other, moving inland in
modified form, gave Gloucester a nine-inch rain. Ships have been known to
fire cannon at these spouts. If one hit a boat directly damage might be
caused, but they have little of the destructive force of the tornado.

As our country builds up the destruction from this most powerful of all
phenomena is likely to increase. Bureau warnings over phones may result in
the saving of some lives; cellars will undoubtedly be built in the
principal zones. But the problem is an interesting one, for unlike the
waterspout, cannon cannot be employed to shatter an emptiness that stalks
the more malignantly the emptier it is.


The tropical hurricane is undoubtedly nature's mightiest exhibit. The
hurricane is the cyclone par excellence. It does not differ from our
ordinary weekly cyclone in the essentials of wind rotation or pressures
or rainfall; but it does differ in place of birth, in its course, and
chiefly in its intensity.

The genuine hurricane is a West Indian production. It is generally cradled
in those islands south and east of Jamaica and Cuba. It is nursed by the
trade-winds. The first notice of its birth is an alteration in these
winds, which are among the most regular observances on our planet. An
extensive formation of cirrus clouds spreads over the sky and the
barometer, which has been stationary for some days, edges off and begins a
long and gradual fall. Great rollers are noticed for a day or two before
the winds rise. A hurricane moves slowly.

This tropical organization is superior in depth to our shallow, disc-like,
continental cyclone which is one and rarely over two miles thick. The
hurricane rears its head three, four, and even five miles high. Instead,
too, of dissipating its force over thousands of miles at once it is only a
few hundred miles in diameter. Its center moves methodically along at the
not very impressive speed of fifteen miles an hour, while our cyclones
hurry along at thirty. But the hurricane is thorough. The wind about its
center reaches a velocity of 120 miles an hour. This velocity has never
yet been attained on the surface of the earth by our trans-continental

Our cyclone always has an eastward trend; the hurricane has a parabolic
course. It begins by moving west on the trades, drifting and dealing
destruction to the banana and sugar plantations of Jamaica. It enters the
Gulf of Mexico, and since it is then pretty much out of the influence of
the trades it curves to the right and begins to act like any other storm
by heading directly for the St. Lawrence. If it passes out through the
Florida straits it never reaches the St. Lawrence but speeds up the coast
and out to sea, usually at Hatteras to follow the shipping routes across
the North Atlantic.

But if it has become so involved in the Gulf of Mexico that it cannot
escape to sea again, it comes up through the Gulf States and on toward New
England. Fortunately as it goes inland its intensity diminishes because it
has not so much energy-giving moisture to draw from. Also its sphere of
action widens, its embrace is less mighty, its characteristics more those
of an ordinary continental cyclone. It manages, however, to deliver gales
of 80 miles an hour along the coastal plain, increasing to 100 at the
exposed places such as Hatteras and Block Island.

The intensest hours of a hurricane are those when its course is changing
from westward to eastward. Enormous rainfalls accompany these storms,
amounting to six inches in some instances. Since one inch of rain amounts
to 100 tons per acre, and 64,000 tons to a square mile one can imagine the
great amount of evaporation that has taken place to so saturate the air as
to drench vast territories to such an extent.

While scarcely a year goes by without one of these West Indian hurricanes
distinguishing itself on our shores the one that visited Galveston in 1904
eclipsed all. It chose to turn in the vicinity of the city. The gale
increased to over 100 miles an hour and the wind gauge then blew away. The
waters of the Bay were heaped up and three thousand lives were lost in the
flood and wreck of flying houses. This peculiar storm did not turn
northeast at once but ascended the Mississippi, turning at the Lakes and
proceeding down the St. Lawrence after having spent a week in our country.

The listless doldrums have sent us 121 of these storms in the last
generation. June has seen 8, July 5, August 28, September 40, and October

Sea-yarners have seized upon the hurricane to energize many a flagging
chapter, and particularly have they emphasized the eye of the storm. The
eye is that vortex where contending winds neutralize each other into a
calm, where the sun shines out through the scud, where the waves, relieved
of the great pressure, leap upward in wild disorder. Then the center
passes and the wind flings itself upon the unlucky bark from the opposite
quarter. Its first onslaught is always represented as being the fiercest
of the whole storm and gradually lessening as the center drives farther
away. This is true in the same way that the first attack of the
thunderstorm is usually the fiercest, both being when the pressure begins
to rise. This savage change to the northwest is naturally the hardest of
all for the ships to bear as they must steady at once against the severest
blast instead of gradually bracing for its culmination. In no department
of meteorology has fiction adhered so closely to the facts as in the
sea-rover accounts of the hurricane.

But in real life there is very little excuse for the vessel to be caught
anywhere near the disastrous center of the storm. Indeed, for generations
sea-captains have known how to escape the deadly eye. By watching the
barometer and noticing in which direction the wind is working round they
can tell the course to a nicety and estimate its speed. Then the wise
ones run the other way for even the _Olympics_ and _Imperators_ of the sea
are cowed by the might of the West Indian.

The typhoons of the West Pacific are similar manifestations.

The hurricane moves off from its birthplace so slowly that our Weather
Bureau has an opportunity to size it up, to chart its probable course, and
to warn shipping interests. The ship-owners, as a class, appreciate the
service of the Bureau and obey its warnings. Vessels with cargoes of a
total value of $30,000,000 were known to have been detained in port on the
Atlantic coast by the Bureau's warnings of a single hurricane. Now that a
much vaster commerce will steam through these dangerous waters toward the
Panama Canal the warnings will assume an even greater importance.

The best description of a hurricane that it has been my fortune to read is
in a story entitled "Chita," one of the remarkable fictions of Lafcadio
Hearn. As truthfully as a scientist and with great beauty of style he has
pictured the long days of burning sun, the foreboding calm, the thickening
haze, the ominous increasing swell of the ocean, a breathless night with
the lightning glowing from between piling towers of cloud, the startling
suddenness of the wind's attack, its fury, the hissing rain, the shrill
crescendo of the gale.


It is the American tendency to exaggerate. We call every snowstorm a
blizzard, every breeze a gale, every shower a cloudburst. In our generous
vocabulary it never rains but it pours. Consequently if we, in the East,
ever had a real blizzard or a real cloudburst we should be at a
considerable loss to find words for an unprofane description. I do not
know how they manage out West where these things occur.

A genuine cloudburst must be an amazing spectacle. It is caused by a
furious updraft of wind keeping a rainstorm in suspense until so much
water has accumulated that it has to let go all at once and the
accumulation descends like a wet blanket.

This phenomenon is staged in the mountains; most often in the Rockies
where melting snow and desert-hot ravines provide the necessary extremes
of temperature. Wind blowing up a mountain-side can maintain considerable
force,--so much that a man cannot possibly walk against it. Black thunder
clouds brew on the peaks. Suddenly the collapse, and the person who tells
the story afterward finds himself struggling in a torrent that a minute
before had been a dry gulch. The moral of the story seems to be that if
you are camping in the mountains and there is a strong upstream wind
blowing and the clouds darken about the hill-tops and the thunder mumbles
then don't make your bed in the creek-bottom lands. The high water marks
of former freshets, but not of cloudbursts, show on the side of the

Even in the less impulsive East a couple of inches of rain make a
surprising rise in a little creek.


The halo is a luminous circle around the moon or the sun. It is caused by
the refraction of light passing through moisture, which at the usual
height is in the form of ice-crystals. The halo when complete consists of
two large circles whose diameters are constant, 45 and 92 degrees. Then
there are often other arches in contact. At each point of contact occurs a
parhelion which is a mock sun of brilliant colors and called a sun-dog.
Since the sun-dog is brighter than the other parts of the halo it
sometimes appears when the rest of the halo cannot be seen. Sun-dogs hunt
in pairs or fours. If the halo is colored the red is on the inside. When
the colors are caused by diffraction instead of refraction, the red is on
the outside of the prismatic ring and the halo is called a corona.

Having now satisfied the demands of science all that can be forgotten
except that the halo around either sun or moon means excess moisture in
the atmosphere. The wide halos are seen in the high cirrus clouds 25, 36,
48 hours in advance of a cyclone. At first the ring is very wide and faint
with several stars in it. If the storm is advancing rapidly the halo
brightens and narrows and the stars fade. This is proof to show that the
proverb stating that the number of stars inside the ring is a forecast of
the number of days of storm is sheer nonsense. For presently the ring
closes and the stars disappear which would show according to the proverb
that the storm had changed its mind and would cut down the number of days
from several to none.

The moon grows paler. The light that it casts upon the earth is eerie at
this stage. Within a few hours the cocoon of mist is completely woven
about the moon. The circle has closed. Snow or rain begins within a few
hours after the moon has entirely disappeared. If it does not so begin it
shows that the process of increasing humidity is a very slow one and the
storm center is probably passing far to one side of the observer. Also if
the snow begins before the light of the moon is entirely suppressed the
disturbance is a shallow one and the storm will be light.

When the halo is actually a corona (red outside) the approach of the storm
can be gauged by the rapidity with which the circle grows smaller. For a
decrease in diameter denotes that the size of the moisture drops is
increasing and therefore the storm is approaching. As a matter of fact the
corona will have disappeared long before the time for rain. Still it is
useful to know that if the corona increases in size the conditions are
clearing. With the halo the reverse holds. For when the clouds are very
high the halo looks small, and high clouds imply swifter winds and a
greater distance from the storm center.

The Zuñi Indians who have an eye for the picturesque as well as for the
truth state the chief fact about haloes happily: "When the sun is in his
house it will rain soon." Another saying of theirs anent cumulus clouds
holds for our country as well as for theirs: "When the clouds rise in
terraces of white, soon will the country of the corn-priests be pierced
with the arrows of rain."

There are many little observations which the man who has kept the corner
of his eye open may profit by and yet which are rather difficult to
express in type. Who could describe an egg for instance whose springtide
of youth was far behind and yet was not quite ready for the discard! In
nature it is the fleeting moment of transition, the half-tones of the
border that are so hard to catch, so difficult to portray, and yet so very
important not to miss if one is to become sure. There follow some of the
baldest and most communicable half-facts about the weather that should be
used oftener to bolster up some opinion gleaned from more positive sources
than to mould one in their own strength.

Moisture in the atmosphere helps sight to a certain extent. For when the
air is full of moisture its temperature tends to become equalized,
obliterating irregularities which would otherwise reflect the vibrations
producing sight and sound. So if one hears better or sees better on a
certain day it augurs a moister atmosphere,--an auxiliary sign if there is
a view that you are fond of looking at many times a day. In the city,
alas, clearer vision on one day than another means merely that less coal
is being used. But in camp there is very often a perceptible difference
in one's seeing ability even on days that could all be classed as clear.

Another thing that the haunter of the woods may notice is that his
smelling capacity is increased before a storm. The increase of humidity
which precedes a rain buoys up odors and depresses smoke. Even in dry
weather if you will stroll by a marsh you will notice how rank the
vegetation smells and how the smells float in layers in the air strata of
different humidity. One's sense of smell is a very slender thread on which
to hang a storm, however.

Fires burn more briskly in dry air than in moist, but to tell the
difference (if you can't feel it) you must be very sure that your wood is
as dry on one day as on another.

Before a rain many plants close their flowers or shift their leaves. The
dandelion, pimpernel, red clover, silver maple are good examples of this,
but they would not be of much use in the North Woods. The closing, too,
takes place only a few hours before rain and is merely confirmation of the
signals rendered more adequately by clouds and winds.

Bugs and flies are particularly annoying before a storm and it is
surprising that the spider should not take advantage of this to get a
meal. But spiders are cautious and they never spin a web on the grass, at
least on the day that brings a storm. The insects do not fly so high on
these weather-breeding days and consequently the birds that feed on them
fly lower. The chimney swifts are a particularly good guide to the
different altitudes at which insects fly.

The stars are on a par with bugs as weather guides, although there are
many proverbs that grant them much. One circumstance should not be
neglected, however, and that is that wind mixes air and when air is well
mixed atmospheric inequalities are less disturbing to vision. Hence when
one can see the stars and the moon well wind currents are oftenest the
cause. Even if it is not blowing on earth these wind currents may yet be
blowing above to reach the earth later. In this way cold waves arrive.
There is an old proverb about this condition, applying it to the moon,
"Sharp horns do threaten windy weather."

But the stars are of second rate importance because they are so soon
obscured. If you can't see them it is cloudy, but you do not know what
kind of cloud it is. If only the brightest show, a veil of cirrus is
arriving. A dark sky with only a few dim stars is an omen of storms. If
the stars twinkle it is because the varying currents of the upper air are
in juxtaposition. If they twinkle while the northwest wind is on it is a
sign of colder weather,--not because they are twinkling but because of the
northwest wind.

In the days when almanacs were the sole guides to the weather a man with a
sense of humor, Butler by name, got out one and dedicated it to "Torpid
Liver and Inflammatory Rheumatism, the Most Insistent Weather Prophets
Known to Suffering Mortals." Rheumatism is following the almanac to the
scrap heap, and it would be harder for a camper to guess what a torpid
liver was like than to forecast the weather, yet for the majority of
"suffering mortals" there is still much truth in the amiable observation
of Mr. Butler,

    "As old sinners have old points
    O' the compass in their bones and joints."



Whatever the foregoing chapters may imply as to the whole world going
camping the fact is that the woods are still, unfortunately, for the few.
The woodsman must yield gracefully to the suburbanite,--in numbers.

But the weather is for everybody. To be sure the sunrise that talks so
confidentially to the hunter of the coming day does not exist for the
commuter. But the coming day does, even though the things it means are
essentially different. To the hunter with his seasoned clothes and
well-earned health a rain is only of concern in so much as it affects the
business of the day; personally it is of small moment. But to the commuter
what does the weather mean? Dollars and cents, of course. His business
goes on, but to his person one unexpected shower = the cost of pressing a
suit; one thorough soaking = one doctor's bill. For you cannot expect
the man to throw off a chill who can quiet his conscience on the matter of
daily exercise by watering the geraniums and reading the newspaper.

Weather wisdom is necessary for the hunter; for the commuter it pays.

The hunter had to rely on local weather signs. The commuter can go him one
better by investing $10 (how finance will creep in!) in a little aneroid
barometer. The local weather signs were good for twelve hours at the
longest. The barometer is a faithful instrument that adds another twelve
hours to a man's knowledge. Half a day, or even a day before any local
sign of changing wind or growing cloud appears the barometer is on the
job. It will register in Philadelphia the news of a disturbance
approaching the Mississippi. So sensitive is it that it is the slave to
every wave of the great air ocean.

The barometer gauges for the eye the amount of atmosphere that is piled
above one. If the amount is normal and at sea-level the instrument will
measure 30.00 inches. This air pressure is equivalent to a column of water
30 feet high. As this would make unwieldy prognosticators the scientists
use mercury instead, which requires a column less than three feet long.
And for general purposes this is supplanted by the handy little aneroid
(which means "without fluid"). This is so fixed that the pressure of the
air influences the upper surface of a vacuum chamber, balanced perfectly
between this pressure and a main spring. This action is transmitted to an
index hand moving across the dial marked into fractions of inches after
the manner of the recognized standard, the mercurial barometer.

When the warm moist light air of a cyclone invades a locality the pressure
is partially removed, the vacuum chamber is not pressed so hard and the
dial hand or the mercury subsides. When the cold, dry, heavy air of the
anticyclone lumbers in more pressure is applied and the mercury, or the
dial hand, climbs. So a falling barometer means a storm, a rising one fair

That is a generality that glitters. If that were all there was to it
weather officials would have a sinecure. But each cyclone varies in size,
intensity, and rate of progress. Some do not advance for days. Therefore
there has grown up a pretty large body of information as each storm has
had to be watched and the barometric movements recorded. The most
important variations follow:

Remembering that 30.00 inches is sea-level normal, if the barometer is
steady at 30.10 or 30.20 the weather will remain fair as long as the
steadiness continues, and on the turn, if the fall proceeds slowly with
the wind from a westerly direction fair to partly cloudy weather with
slowly rising temperature will follow for two days.

If the barometer rises rapidly from 30.10 the fall will be equally rapid
and rain or snow may be expected within a couple of days. Since the
depressions of the atmosphere tend to a certain regularity about the
center of the storm it follows that the reactions will follow the actions
in similar manner,--a long rise portending a long fall and a variable
glass meaning unsettled conditions.

The barometer does not rise with wind from an easterly direction unless a
shift is imminent. In winter the air is so much colder over the land than
over the sea that the air brought in by an easterly wind is soon
condensed. Consequently with winds from the south or southeast, even if
the barometer is 30.20 or 30.10 and falling slowly rain usually arrives
(and rain of course is meant to include snow whenever the mercury is below
the freezing point) within 24 hours. If the fall is rapid there may be
precipitation within 12 hours, and the wind will rapidly increase and the
temperature rise.

If the wind is from the east or northeast and the barometer 30.10 or above
and falling slowly it means rain within 24 hours in winter. In summer if
the wind is light rain may not fall for a day or so. If the fall is rapid
in winter rain with increasing winds will often set in when the barometer
begins its fall and the wind gets to a point a little east of north.

If the barometer is 30.00 or below and falling slowly with northeast to
southeast winds the storm will continue 24 to 48 hours. If the barometer
falls rapidly the wind will be high with rain and the change to rising
barometer with clearing and colder will probably come within 20 to 30

If the barometer is below 30.00 but rising slowly the clear weather will
last several days.

If the barometer is 29.80 or below and falling rapidly with winds south of
east a severe storm is at hand to be followed within 24 hours by clearing
and colder. Under the same conditions but with northeast winds there will
occur heavy snow followed by a cold wave.

If these promises do not always bear fruit it is because they will have
been interrupted by an unseen shifting of the atmospheric weights. But
the barometer will record them. A rapid rise may be checked in ascent and
the instrument may fluctuate like a stock-ticker. Its tale is of very
unsettled weather conditions and consequently no particular brand of
weather will last for very long at a time.

A sudden rise of the barometer may bring its gale of wind as well as a
sudden fall. But the tendency will be toward clearing and much colder.

A fall of the barometer on a west wind is not common. It means rain. A
rise on a south wind means fair. A low barometer and a cold south wind
mean a change to west with squalls for a while. On the other hand, a high
barometer with warmer weather means a shift of the wind to southerly
quarters and an imminent fall.

If the barometer rises fast and the temperature does, too, look for
another storm. This is often noticed in summer.

There is a slight daily oscillation of the mercury, which, if other things
are steady, registers highest at 10 A. M. and 10 P. M. and lowest at 4 A.
M. and 4 P. M.

If this data confuses bear in mind the simple ordinary progress of the
barometer in the usual storm: First, it will stand steady for a day or so
at any point between 30.10 and 30.50. Then the glass will begin (for most
storms) to fall gradually. As the center nears the fall hastens. After the
lowest point has been reached a slight rise will be followed by another
slight fall and then the final long rise will commence. The rain begins
and ceases at different stages for different storms, depending upon the
wind's velocity and direction.

For every 900 feet of altitude the height of the mercury is about one inch
less. Do not complain that your barometer is inaccurate if you are living
up in the mountains and your readings are not the same as the weather
reports which are reduced to sea level. All the figures given in this
chapter are for sea level and if your house is 1900 feet above you must
move the copper hand of your aneroid 1.95 inches from the pressure hand.
If the pressure hand would read 28.05 the adjustable copper hand would
read 30.00 which is the sea level reading.

One good thing to remember is that a barometer falls lower for high winds
than for heavy rain. A fall of two- or three-tenths of an inch in four
hours brings a gale. In the ordinary gale the wind blows hardest when the
barometer begins its rise from a very low point.

In summer a suddenly falling barometer foretells a thunderstorm, and if
the corresponding rise does not at once take place the unsettled
conditions will continue with probably another thunderstorm. If you see
the thunderstorm first, that is, if the barometer is not affected by the
approaching black cloud you may be sure that the storm will amount to

The man in the fields or along the shore has many natural barometers in
animal life. But these natural barometers only corroborate; they do not
foretell, at least very long before. Some are useful at times and among
these the birds are foremost. The observant Zuñis have incorporated this
in one of their pretty proverbs, "When chimney swallows circle and call
they speak of rain." As a matter of fact the swallows are circling most of
the time after insects. If they are flying high it is because the bugs are
flying high and that is because there is no danger of rain. As the rain
nears the air gets moister, the bugs and the birds fly lower.

Whether they do this because their instinct is to avoid a wetting or
because the lighter atmosphere of a cyclone makes flying more difficult,
particularly at altitudes, I do not know. For weather purposes it is
enough to watch their comparative levels. Wild geese are excellent signs,
I am told, but it would be a dry country that waits for a sight of them
for its rain.

Bees localize before a storm and will not swarm. Flies crowd upon the
screens of houses when humidity is high, possibly because the appetizing
odors from within are buoyed afar by the heavy air. Cuckoos seek the
higher ground in fair weather and disappear into bottom lands before a
rain. Although they are called rain-crows they are heard in all weathers.

Smoke is as good an evidence of barometric pressure as anything except the
instrument itself. On clear, still days it will mount; on humid days
without wind it will cling to the hill. There is that difference. But it
takes skill and many comparisons to gauge its angles in the wind. It
becomes a test in observation and finally rewards one by becoming an
excellent sign not only of air texture but of the direction of its

No reference to barometers would be complete without mentioning spiders.
They show a most delicate apprehension of changing conditions. If the day
is to be fine and without wind they will run out long threads and be
rather active. If the rain is nearing they strengthen their webs, shorten
the filaments and sit dully in the center. Fresh webs on the lawn insure
a clear day. But for the commuter, whose time is money, there is little
leisure to consider the spider.

As a natural result of the variation in altitude affecting the barometer
the words which are printed on the face become entirely useless. In some
places it would be impossible for the needle to point higher than "Very
Stormy." Even at sea level a sudden fall to "Fair" would cause a rain,
much to the indignation of the person who thought that he had purchased a
self-registering weather prophet. Disregard the words but watch the needle
and you will never be surprised at what the weather is doing next.



Too great emphasis cannot be laid upon the futility, at present, of trying
to forecast the weather for more than a very few days in advance. Long
range efforts are not made by the Bureau because with its present limited
knowledge of the factors that control seasons and with the present limited
facilities for collecting data the process of looking into next month has
not been perfected, and the attempt to investigate next winter's weather
proves scientifically impossible.

As usual, fakers step in where science fears to tread. With goose-bones
(not their own) and hickory nuts they prophesy with all their might. And
if their prophecies come true, as sometimes they must, there is wide
rejoicing in the newspapers and the cause of science is set back by just
so much. But science cannot be thwarted in the end and every year new
discoveries are made, new speculations proved true or forever false, and
some time, doubtless, the weather will be predicted from year to year
with the same 85% accuracy with which the 36 hour forecast is now made.
Experimenting is worth the little that it costs, too, for to know when the
summer is to be dry or wet, hot or cold will be a boon to everybody and to
the farmer most of all.

One conclusion has already been reached by officials in the Weather Bureau
and scientists generally. It has been decided by long search through
creditable records, painstaking comparisons of averages coupled with the
most accurate investigations for half a century, that, on the basis of ten
years, our seasons do not change. That is, counting the decade as a unit,
our weather keeps to the same level of efficiency through the centuries.

This statement comes always as a blow. It always provokes argument and
citations of grandmother's blizzards. There is a great and universal
hesitation in believing that our weather is as good to-day as it used to
be. The good old times when there was a general debauch of snow and you
could skate all winter on anything but the Atlantic Ocean certainly appear
no more. As a matter of fact there has been a change, but it has been in
our memories. In grandmother's youth the trains,--if they had trains
then,--doubtless were stalled by a big snow for then they did not have
rotary plows. In father's day they may have had an unbroken winter of
sleighing. We couldn't now; sleighs are extinct. But in our time, in fact
every year, some record is being broken and the records go back a
respectable length of time.

For example in Philadelphia the most accurate records made by standard
instruments have been kept for 43 years. During this time the highest wind
velocity was recorded in 1878 (75 miles an hour). The greatest rainfall in
24 hours occurred in 1898 (5.89 inches). The lowest temperature was
registered in 1899 (6 degrees below zero); the highest in 1901 (103
degrees). The greatest number of thunderstorms for any one year took place
in 1905 when we had 51. As late as 1909 the heaviest snowfall ever
recorded at this station, amounting to 21 inches, occurred. And just a few
weeks ago (April 3rd, 1915) it snowed 19 inches in half as many hours. All
these items do not indicate a climate decreasing in virility very swiftly.

But there is more evidence yet that Philadelphia is experiencing the same
varieties of weather in about the same proportions. Diaries of observant
men running back to 1700 show that almost any kind of memory could be
founded on fact, that the same violent changes in temperature, the same
deep snows and unseasonable seasons that we endure to-day were noticed
then. To quote:

"The whole winter of 1780 was intensely cold. The Delaware was closed from
the 1st of December to the 14th of March. The ice was from two to three
feet thick." We despaired of ever living up to this until three years ago
when the same thing happened and sleighs crossed the river a little above
the city. And despite the new ice-boats!

"The winter of 1779 was very mild, particularly the month of February when
trees were in blossom."

"On the 31st of December, 1764, the Delaware was frozen completely over in
one night, and the weather continued cold until the 28th of March with
snow about two and a half feet deep."

"The winter of 1756 was very mild. The first snow was as late as the 18th
of March."

And so it goes. 1750 was mild; 1742 "one of the coldest since the
settlement of the country"; 1741 was intensely cold, 1725 mild, 1714 very
mild after the 15th of January, 1697 long, stormy and severely cold. The
upshot of it all is that February violets and April snows were just as
well known to General Washington as they are to us.

[Illustration: NIMBUS

_Courtesy of Richard F. Warren_

Nimbus is any cloud from which rain is falling, and the important thing to
know is how to judge from the formless thing how much longer it is to
rain. The wind is the surest guide. In this picture the nimbus cloud is
only that at the end of the cape. All the rest is torn stratus and
cumulus, which needs to condense a little further before it becomes
nimbus. This will likely happen because the cloud at the left is very
dark. The broken appearance denotes some wind. Rain does not fall from a
mottled sky nor yet a streaky one; the nimbus is uniform in appearance. In
summer a break in the nimbus will show a veil of cirro-stratus above. Just
nimbus by itself will not support much of a storm. In winter if the nimbus
is particularly seamless snow is about to fall.]

But though all facts point to the fact that the climate does not change in
a decade or a generation or a dozen generations, there is some comfort for
those who are not satisfied in knowing that it doesn't stay the same
forever. During the carboniferous times the poles were as warm as the
tropics and when the Ice Age came on it was very chilly everywhere. If one
might only live an eon or two he might then well complain of the changing

Climate, however, is one thing, weather another. The climate is the sum
total of the weather. Climate is as enduring as our Constitution, the
weather is as changeable as our city governments. No matter how proud a
scientist may be of the lasting qualities of the climate, he has to admit
that our weather, taken day by day or even year by year, is versatile in
the extreme. And the question he has set himself to solve is how to
explain the variations of the seasonable weather. He wants to find out why
all winters are not alike, and why no two successive springs are the same.
Then he will be on firm ground at last and able to make scientific
forecasts for the ensuing year.

The obvious thing was to find out as accurately as possible what had
happened and science's keenest eye was focused on records in the hope of
discovering fixed periods of warmth or wetness, cycles of cold and
drought. So far no cycles have been discovered that are beyond dispute.
Nothing has been found that cannot be contradicted successfully. This is

One of the most frequent starting places for investigators is the spots on
the sun. They found that periods of three, eight, eleven, and thirty-five
years should bear some resemblance; 1901 was eagerly looked forward to.
They wanted it to correspond with the remarkably cool summer of 1867. When
it started off in July with a temperature of 103 degrees, the highest ever
recorded in Philadelphia, they concluded that the sunspots were fooling
them. A connection between sunspots and weather has not been established,
therefore, although they are now known to affect the electrical condition
of the earth's atmosphere. Longer periods of observation will permit
comparisons that may yet define concurrent cycles of sunspots and weather.

A definite weather cycle has not yet been discovered, but one step in the
way has been cleared up. We now are pretty sure of one cause for unusual
single seasons of heat and cold.

There exist in winter great bodies of cold, dry air heaped up over Canada
and Siberia, which are formed by the greater rapidity of radiation over
land surfaces than over water. These mounds of cold air build up during
December, January, and February and form great so-called permanent areas
of high barometer. It is on the skirts of the Canadian high that the
smaller highs form which sweep over our country, giving us our cold waves.
Also in winter permanent lows form over the North Pacific and North
Atlantic where warm currents afford continuous supplies of warm moist air.
From the great Aleutian (Pacific) low spring most of the cyclones which
swing down below the border of the Canadian high, make their turn
somewhere in the Mississippi Valley, and then head for the Icelandic low.

It can be seen that if the Canadian high is a little stronger than usual
and spreads a little farther south, then the northern half of our country
will come more directly under its influence and we will experience an
unusually severe winter. As the storms are pushed south and as the cold
air pours into the northern quadrants the snow line is pushed south too.
Hence all abnormally snowy winters are caused by a strengthening of the
permanent Canadian high which may be central anywhere north of our Dakota
or Montana borders.

Conversely, if this high is weaker than usual the cyclones can cross the
country on a line farther north, there will be less snow, and the cold
waves that follow will be less severe or even non-existent.

In summer the reverse occurs. Great oceanic highs are built up over the
South Atlantic and South Pacific and a permanent low occupies the center
of our continent. The character of the season is determined by the
strength and position of these areas. The eastern states are affected
especially by the slow movements of the South Atlantic low. The puzzle is
why should these areas change their power and position, and if they must
change why don't they do it regularly? The puzzle will undoubtedly be
solved. These great centers of action will be plotted against and observed
from every vantage point by a thousand observers. A fascinating field for
scientific speculation opens.

At present our Government exchanges daily observations with stations in
Siberia, Canada, and the West Indies. The great storm-breeder, the
Aleutian Low, is watched from Alaskan shores. In the Atlantic the Bureau
needs stationary ships to record the growth and decline of the High over
the Azores. Knowledge of the wind circulation from this would inform us
whether our storms were to be shunted farther north and pushed somewhat
inland. A storm which is pushed to the left of its normal track increases
tremendously in intensity. Whereas a cyclone that limps slackly to the
right of its normal line loses intensity at once. It misses coil. In this
respect storms seem to resemble rattlesnakes.

The energy of the Azores High influences the number and destructiveness of
the West Indian hurricanes: the larger the area is the closer do the
hurricanes hug our shores and the more destruction do they accomplish.

The very sureness that the general average of the seasons is to be the
same enables us to guess pretty accurately for individual purposes as to
the kind of season coming next. A guess, let me add, is not a forecast. It
is a gamble and disapproved of by the Bureau, but until they supply us
with a basis for judgment we will have to go on guessing, for human
curiosity is as near to perpetual motion as the weather is to the lacking
fourth dimension.

One of these guesses is that if the winter has been a warm one the summer
will be cool, for the very good reason that the yearly average does depart
so slightly from the fixture. Unfortunately one hot summer does not mean
that the following summer will be cool. Certain sequences of the seasons
have been observed often enough to have been gathered into proverbs.
Everybody agrees that "A late spring never deceives." "A year of snow,
Fruit will grow." "A green winter makes a full churchyard."

Of the many hundreds of proverbs relating to the seasons a few are sage,
some outworn, and many sheer nonsense. Nearly all refer to the obvious
fact that one kind of season is followed by another rather unlike it, not
much telling what. And there, unsatisfactorily enough, they leave one. But
much is to be hoped for from the scientific explorations now in progress.
And until they are heard from few of us will realize how many seasonable
seasons we really enjoy.



At the cost of a cent and a half a year apiece we Americans are supplied
with detailed information in advance about the weather. And the
information is correct for more than four-fifths of the time. If stock
brokers never missed oftener, what reputations would accrue!

Cheapness, accuracy, and a certain modesty are the three qualities that
distinguish the out-givings of the Bureau from the old-fashioned
predictions of the weather which used to appear in almanacs. Almanacs have
probably kept appearing ever since the art of printing first allowed
unscrupulous persons to juggle with words. They cost fifty cents and their
predictions were based on nothing but the strength of their author's
imagination. Of course, it was impossible for him to guess wrong more than
half the time so that when he announced in January that July would be hot
with thunderstorms he was often right. This gave him prestige, but aided
his clients little.

The Weather Bureau was in about the same position in regard to the quack
predictions of the almanacs as was the honest doctor of the last decade
who could only prescribe good food and fresh air and moderate exercise for
the patient who much preferred the expensive allurements of the medicinal
cure-all as advertised. In humility the Bureau said that as things stood
it could not forecast with accuracy for more than 48 hours, and its
honesty brought it into disregard.

But, although the Weather Bureau,--like the Christian Church and other
things that have had to combat superstition at every step--has grown
slowly it has grown surely and its work is being recognized more widely
and relied upon more understandingly every month. It was an American
scientist who discovered the rotary motion of cyclones and their
progressive character, but due to the conservative nature of our
Government three other nations had established weather services before we
had. In 1870 the War Department was authorized to start a system of
observations that would permit of a rough sort of forecasting. The
forecasts proved of so much value to shippers and sailors that the work
was handed over to the Department of Agriculture and enlarged (1891).
To-day every part of our country contributes to the knowledge of existing
weather conditions.

At 8 A. M. observations are made at hundreds of stations and wired to the
Central Office at Washington. The Chief there, knowing these conditions,
is enabled to locate a storm, to gauge its rate of speed, to learn its
course, and to measure its intensity. He can dictate storm warnings and be
sure that within an hour every sailing master will have a copy. He can
detect a cold wave at its entrance into our territory and know that within
an hour every shipper, every truckster (who has signified that he wishes
to be informed) will have the facts that will save him money.

At 8 P. M. the same stations telegraph the changed conditions, and if any
very violent disturbance is in progress an observation is made at noon.
Besides the Washington distributing station there are 1700 others from
which warnings are sent by telegraph, telephone, or mail. There are
100,000 addresses on the mailing list and 5,000,000 telephone subscribers
can get them within an hour. The newspapers reach many millions. And all
this at a cost of 1-1/2 cents a year. If we, in a fit of generosity,
should pay 2 cents, or even 2-1/2 the Government would be enabled to work
out many of the larger problems awaiting only a larger appropriation to be

The people's investment of $1,600,000 a year is a good investment. In one
year the Service saves a great many hundred per cent. A few known savings
are worth giving; $3,500,000 worth of protection was made possible from
one exceptionally severe cold wave; the California citrus growers
estimated that one warning saved $14,000,000 worth of fruit; $30,000,000
of shipping (and cargoes) was known to have been detained in port just on
account of one hurricane warning, and there are many warnings of gales
every year. Uncalculated savings have been effected among the growers of
tobacco, sugar, cranberries, truck. The railway and transportation
companies save, through use of the forecasts, in shipments of bananas,
oysters, fish, and eggs. Farmers, manufacturers, raisin driers,
photographers, insurance companies, and about a hundred and fifty other
occupations increase their profits by a systematic study of the forecasts.

The people who live along the rivers often owe their lives and frequently
much of their property to telephone warnings of approaching floods. The
flood stages in all the principal rivers and streams have been calculated
and losses are reduced by 75 per cent. by accurate predictions as to when
the crest of the flood may be expected and how high it will reach. A
hundred uses of river forecasts, even when flood stages are not expected
are given in the booklet, "The Weather Bureau" which you can have from
Washington for the asking, like many another of their publications.

Yet, with all the good it does, the man on the street still regards the
Bureau as an uninteresting, undependable exhibit in the upper corner of
the newspaper,--if he regards it at all. It is his child, however, who is
instructing him. For his child is being taught in the public school all
about it and he takes his teaching home and becomes the teacher. The child
is father of the (old) man in lots of instances.

The most impressive thing about the whole output of the Bureau to the
child is its Map. The Bureau issues a map every day which is posted in
post-offices and railroad stations and in schools, too, if they ask for
it. And every day this map shows in all its gripping details the way our
storms are sidling across the continent or rushing up our coasts. It
prints the word low where the stormy area of low barometer is. About the
low run continuous black lines numbered 29.7, 29.8, 29.9, etc., which show
where in the country the pressures are the same.

As the numbers run up to 30.0, 30.1, 30.2 they begin to circle about the
word High which denotes where the pressure is highest. Little circles will
be observed on the map. Some are clear, indicating clear weather; others
are half clear, half black, indicating partly cloudy conditions; others
are all black, showing clouds; others have R. or S. inside them, telling
where it is raining. The numbers under the circles show how much it has
rained or snowed and the numbers under the other numbers are the
velocities of the winds. The arrows through the circles fly with the wind.
A little zig-zag locates each thunderstorm and the shaded portions show
over what portions of the country it has rained during the last 24 hours.
As an intelligent puzzle picture the map is unequaled and no wonder the
child likes it.

With this map you can tell at a glance what the weather is doing to your
uncle in Tacoma and to your cousin in Missouri. With two successive maps
you can find out about how fast the storms are traveling, in what
direction, and how low the temperatures are under their influence, and so
estimate for yourself the weather for the next three days.

Besides the invaluable daily weather map the Bureau issues many other maps
that present the phenomena of the week, the month, and the season in
graphic form. Masters of vessels are now coöperating with the government
to provide observations at sea, and both on our northwest and southeast
coasts such information is very valuable. In the west several hundreds of
stations are maintained in the mountains for the purpose of obtaining the
depth and content of the great snowfalls there. Estimates can then be
given out as to the amount of water to be available for irrigating
purposes. In addition to the 220 stations of the first class there are
4200 coöperative stations at which observations are made and mailed to 44
centers for distribution.

Special local data help to establish the relations between climate and
forestry, agriculture, water resources, and allied subjects. Many
bulletins are compiled by experts in their respective lines and these are
for free distribution. A study of forest cover is being made in Colorado
and the effects of denudation on the flow of streams will soon be
scientifically established. As soon as practicable the Bureau hopes to
extend its period of forecasting. Weekly forecasts have been tried in a
general way with success, but long-range forecasting depends upon so many
relationships of the air that present knowledge and facilities do not
warrant its adoption.



In the good old times when a man was born, spent his life, and died in the
same village the weather proverb was fashioned. Generations had watched
the clouds gather under certain circumstances and scatter under certain
others and they naturally drew conclusions. These conclusions crystallized
until they resembled nuggets of golden weather wisdom. Some were even used
as charms. And all contained a deal of truth so long as they were only
meant to refer to the country in which they had originated.

But nowadays when the very idea of remaining in the same place for very
long at a time is obnoxious the weather proverb suffers. It suffers
chiefly by transportation. The weather in County Cork is so very different
from the weather that makes Chicago famous that the same weather lore does
not fit. Yet it is often applied. The old truths, treasured in picturesque
phrase and jingle, were brought over the ocean unchanged and made to do
duty,--a case of new wine in old bottles again, for a gentle old Irish
proverb splits up the back when it tries to accommodate itself to a week
of our reckless but magnificent weather.

Fairy stories are jewels to be cherished. And it is a careless and
unimaginative race that perpetuates no legends. Even old saws are quaint
and should be preserved: "See a pin and pick it up, all the day you'll
have good luck." Let that sort of thing go on because it adds richness to
our conversation. But if a thousand men, after having picked up their
morning pins, sat around waiting for the ensuing luck the progress of
scientific business management would be halted. And precisely that way is
the knowledge of ordinary weather facts halted,--a full-grown superstition
sits in the path. Instead of relying upon their eyes the majority of
people rely upon a bit of doggerel. For example, millions of people firmly
believe that the ground-hog is a key to the weather. They say that if the
ground-hog does not see his shadow on the 2nd of February that winter is

This is the sort of thing that obscures the findings of science not to
mention common-sense. Few of these people have ever seen a ground-hog.
Few of the rest have ever studied its habits. The ant, the mouse, the fly,
the rat, and the mosquito have far more influence upon our lives than the
ground-hog has and the most ambitious animal cannot expect to influence
atmospheric pressure, which is responsible for our weather. Yet as often
as the 2nd of February comes around the hopes of many are either dashed or
raised according to the actions of this creature. As a matter of fact,
whether February 2nd is clear or cloudy can have no influence on the rest
of the winter.

Almost all the other proverbs have a basis of reason. But this puts its
believers in the wrong either way. If they say that it is the actions of
the animal that they rely upon they depend upon a characteristic
thoroughly and surely disproved. No animal, although it may sense a change
in the weather a few hours in advance, is able to feel it for three days
ahead to say nothing of six weeks. If these people say, on the other hand,
that a cloudy February 2nd means an immediate and complete let up of
winter, or that a clear February 2nd means a certain continuance of cold
weather for six weeks, they have only to trouble themselves to look at the
files of the nearest Weather Bureau for the last forty years. They will
find no connection. The trouble is that they will not look, but keep on
repeating the bit of nonsense and believing in it, although the strength
of their convictions probably does not reduce their coal-bills.

The same people are fond of saying that the first three days of December
show what the winter will be like. That is, if the 1st is fair so will
December be; if the 2nd is cold so will January be; and if it snows on the
3rd, so will it snow in February. If all three should be clear and warm
certainly a remarkable winter would follow! No rain, no snow, no cold! You
see how absurd this superstition is.

"A dry moon lies on its back!" After the ground-hog the moon is supposed
to have the most influence on our seasons. The Government and many
scientists connected with no governments have made careful, exhaustive and
conclusive investigations. No relation between the moon and our weather
has been discovered except as she causes our tides and they affect
atmospheric pressure in an infinitesimal degree. We would still have just
as much and just as variable weather if there were no moon. The weather
changes with the changing moon, and it does not change as the moon
changes, and the chances are about even that the times of change will
coincide. So there is, therefore, absolutely no foundation for the dozens
of proverbs that yoke the changes of the moon with the changes of our
weather. Neither in science nor in observation has any sequence been

So the moon may lie on its back or on its side or stand on its head and
the weather will remain dry if no low pressure areas cross the country,
and it can lie on its back for days and the country be drowned out if they
do. There are enough pretty things to say about the moon, anyway, and will
be more all the time for, to commit a paraphrase: Science is stranger than

"It will rain for forty days straight if it rains on St. Swithin's Day,"
which, I might as well say for the benefit of those who don't know their
saints, falls on July 15th every year. It would be interesting to know how
many people in a hundred really believe this, or really believe all the
other things that are attributed to the saints,--quite a few, probably.
Luckily for St. Swithin July and August are wet months, with often several
days of showers or thunderstorms in succession. But never once in
Philadelphia has it rained for forty days, one right after another,
although half the July 15ths have been rained on. This proverb is one of
those that had better never been transplanted from its native Ireland
where rain for 40 days would excite scarcely a curse.

"Long and loud singing of robins denotes rain." It does not. Oftener than
not it denotes the time of day. Just watch the robins and listen to them
and see what they do before a storm, during it, after it, and then you
will see how little the songs of birds can be depended upon to supplant
the barometer.

"If March comes in like a lion it will go out like a lamb," and the other
way round. I have seen March come in like a lion and go out like a lion,
come in like a lion and go out like a lamb, come in like a lamb and go out
like a lion, and come in like a lamb and go out like a Noah's ark. But I
never have seen March do anything dependable. It is quite impossible to
tell how March is going out on March 27th, and absolutely impossible to
tell on March 1st.

But there is this much observation expressed in the proverb, that March is
so changeable that, if it comes in cold, windy, unsettled, there is not so
much chance for such weather still to be going on at the end of the month,
and still less in England where the proverb came from. This is a harmless
proverb unless it should lead people to actually count upon a pleasant
spring just because March had an unpleasant inception. Misfortunes rarely
come singly, even on the weather calendar.

"When squirrels are scarce in autumn the winter will be severe." Aside
from the scientific truth that the animals cannot know in advance about
the seasons there is little evidence on either side to base a contention.
Nobody has made a squirrel census; nobody, probably, has found out whether
they increase in numbers for six years and then die off in great
quantities as do the rabbits in the north country on the seventh; nobody
has connected their apparent numbers year after year with the actual
severities of the winters. And so nobody has a right to promulgate the
report (except as a bit of nonsense like April Fool) that the ensuing
winter is going to be a record breaker because the squirrels have
disappeared. It would be far truer to say that "When squirrels are scarce
in autumn the hunters have been busy," and let it go at that.

There are a lot of proverbs in this connection about goose bones and
hickory nuts and wild geese, which sound plausible but are never proved.
If the birds have all the sense credited to them it is strange that some
allow themselves to be caught by an early snowstorm in the fall and
decimated. Also it is not uncommon for early migrations in the spring to
arrive in the north to be slain by the thousand by a belated blizzard. It
is granted that animals and birds, having a far greater sensitiveness than
man, occasionally sense a catastrophe some hours before it is evidenced by
any visual signs, but seasonal wisdom has not been proved in any one
instance and disproved in many. None of the proverbs relating to the
animals and birds are to be depended upon. They deceive, much to the
regret of all the meteorologists who would welcome any genuine clue to
nature of the coming season. Any farmer would be only too glad to keep a
menagerie of squirrels and wild geese and toads if only he might be
assured by them of the coming seasonal conditions.

The proverbs given indicate the range, possibly, but certainly not the
full absurdity of the old weather sayings. There are many other proverbs
that contain at least a half truth.

"Enough blue sky to make a Dutchman's breeches indicates clearing," is one
that is true if the wind has changed to the west. If the wind still blows
from an easterly quarter blue sky for a Dutchman's whole wardrobe would
not insure clear weather. All sayings must be tested many times before
they are believed implicitly.

"There is always a thaw in January," is about as true a generalization as
can be made about things for which generalizations are never strictly in
place. Even in Canada the severity of the winter is often broken by a
spell of warmer weather with a rain, perhaps, in the dead of winter. In
the United States a winter without some break in each of the months would
be a most unusual occurrence. So that it is quite reasonable to expect the
"January thaw" any time from Christmas until the middle of February.

"A late spring never deceives," unless it is so very late, like the
phenomenal spring of 1907, that the jump is made, perforce, into summer.
That is a cruel deception. What is meant of course is that if the freezing
weather continues consistently, well past the average, the likelihood of
frost-damage to fruit is slight. There is nothing much worse than for the
blossoms to be forced by a period of warm weather early, for there is only
a slim chance that it will continue past the danger limit. It is
surprising how late frost may occur,--the last date for killing frost in
Pennsylvania is about May 10th on the _average_, which makes it possible
till June.

"The first robins indicate the approach of spring." But certainly not its

"If the moon rises clear expect fair weather." Right; because if it is
summer even the eastern horizon would show the humidity necessary enough
to cause a thunderstorm, and in winter the cirrus clouds give several
hours' warning. But, again, the wind is the chief factor to be considered.

Proverbs, representing variations of the truth, could be given about every
manifestation of the skies as well as about things that were never
manifest except in the imagination, for every country has contributed to
the volume of weather-lore. But, unfortunately, neither age nor amount of
repetition are as good as the truth and they should be discarded if they
are false. The way to discard is not to repeat.

The man who desires weather-wisdom should seek it with his eyes. His
comparison will be that which he sees with that which he has seen, and he
will soon form all the weather axioms he needs for himself. The local
Bureau or the Bureau at Washington will answer all his inquiries,
cheerfully, promptly, and free of charge. Of course there are things that
the Bureau wants to know itself. It is very curious about the higher
strata of air. Small balloons have carried very light instruments to an
altitude of fifteen miles and brought considerable knowledge to earth,
but each bit makes more knowledge imperative.

The cry of "last frontier" hurts the adventurous, the exploring, the
woods-loving as no other cry has power to hurt. With the Poles gone and
Alaska in harness we are inclined to think that it is all over. We resign
ourselves to our trammelling globe,--as the gold-fish do,--forgetting. But
there is plenty of interest left. The birds must be brought back. Forests
must be made and patrolled, and the air-ocean is still unknown. That, at
any rate, has remained unspoiled by man.

The seas have been charted and the mountains have been disemboweled, but
the atmosphere is unconquered. More must be known. Squadrons of aëroplanes
cannot ride out the gale until their pilots know all about the gale. Until
that time there need be no cry of last frontier, for until that time the
weather will continue to be our overlord, whose dominions are flaunted
before the watcher on the porch and the runner on the trail.


Look for continued fair weather when:

A gentle wind blows from the west, northwest, or a little south of west.

The sun sets in a cloudless sky.

The sunset is composed of light tints, inclining to red or yellow.

The sunset is followed by a glowing and slow-fading western sky.

The sun sets like a ball of fire (warmer).

The sun rises out of a gray sky.

The clouds are noticeably high for the season.

The clouds rise on the mountains.

The clouds have frequent breaks showing blue sky between.

The puffy cumulus clouds show a lot of white.

The cumulus clouds decrease toward nightfall.

The winter sky is mottled with a northwest wind.

The summer morning fog breaks before ten o'clock.

The dawn is low.

The blue sky has a tendency to show green near the northern horizon

The sun breaks through a departing thunderstorm and makes a rainbow.

Snow-flurries drift down a north wind (colder).

Cirrus clouds, or others, dissolve, or cirrus have tails down.

Spiders spin on the grass.

There is a moderate dew or frost.

The temperature is normal or colder than normal, other signs being right.

The sky is sown with stars.

The moon rises clear.

The wind blows down mountain ravines after nightfall.

The salt is dry, smoke ascends, birds fly high, and animals act normally.

The barometer rises slowly, or is steady at or above 30.00.

No change need be feared as the anticyclone nears, or for three days after
clear conditions are established so long as the wind remains brisk from
some westerly quarter. The direction of the wind, the kind of cloud, and
the temperature changes are the factors to watch if you have no barometer.

       *       *       *       *       *

Look for a change toward storms when:

The west wind suddenly drops.

The west wind shifts to south or northeast.

The cirrus clouds appear in well-organized lines.

The cirrus clouds merge into cirro-stratus.

The sky looks like fish scales, so-called mackerel sky.

Light scud drifts across the sky from east to west.

The summer cumulus clouds increase in size as the afternoon proceeds.

Walls grow damp, flies are more of a burden than usual, swallows fly low.

Smoke falls to the ground.

There have been three white frosts.

A halo appears around either the moon or sun.

When sun-dogs appear about the sun, denoting ice-particles in the air.

The summer morning is sultry and the wind variable.

The temperature is much above the normal.

Few stars are visible and those are indistinct. The clouds gather about
the mountain tops, or drop down the mountain-sides.

The wind continues to blow up ravines after nightfall.

The sunset is a dull gray, or the sun sets into a livid cloudbank.

The sunrise is a fiery red, and the dawn is high.

The sun gradually is smothered in fine-textured clouds and the wind

The temperature does not fall at night.

The signs most to be heeded are the shift of wind to a point east of
north or south, the gradual filming of the sky with cirrus and
cirro-stratus, and the increase of temperature. Of course, the barometer
is the best indicator of all.

       *       *       *       *       *

Look for a change toward clearing when:

The wind shifts from the easterly quarter into the west.

The temperature falls rapidly.

The clouds rise, or break, or lighten perceptibly in color.

Patches of blue sky appear through the rifts in the clouds, wind north.

Raindrops grow smaller after the windshift.

Snowflakes drive less busily, float lazily down, or thin out

Seams appear in the clouds, snow will cease and rain probably.

The thunder and lightning occur only in the eastern quarter.

Permanent clearing will not be effected until the change of the wind to
the points on the western half of the compass show that the cyclone has
definitely passed to the north or south or over the locality. In winter
the cloud covering may move off slowly, but there will be little
precipitation after the wind has reached north or west. The bank of
cirro-stratus gets thinner and the moon or the sun gradually shines
through. In summer clearing is much more abrupt, as is the clouding up.
The ability to sense accurately the moment when the weights are shifted
and the change to clearing commences takes some observation to acquire,
but the advantage is worth it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Rain (or snow) will fall:

Within five minutes after the arch of the thundercloud is seen to move
toward one.

Within five minutes when the curtain of falling drops obscures the
landscape to the west of one.

Within a few minutes after the bottoms of cumulus clouds turn from black
to gray, letting down visible trailing showers.

Within a short while after the winter sky has become uniform in color.

Within an hour after the pavement-like, but scarcely discernible,
thundercloud consolidates along the west, if the wind is from the
southwest. If the wind is from the southeast this cloud may take four
hours to rise.

From two to eight hours after the sun or moon has vanished behind the

From eight to forty-eight hours after the first cirrus is seen, depending
upon the distance from the sea and the time of year.

Every little while from southwest showers in the passing of a summer low.

For about eight to twelve hours continuously in a winter storm, and
intermittently until the wind swings west.

For a very short while from a thunder cloud rising on a west wind.

For an hour or more from a thundercloud that rises on a southwest or
southeast wind.

       *       *       *       *       *

The temperature will fall when:

A thunderstorm breaks, continuing low if the wind blows from the west
after clearing.

Nightfall approaches and the sky is free from clouds.

The mercury remains at the same level during the sunny hours.

A cyclone is departing and the anticyclone moving in.

The wind swings north of east in a storm,--the fall will be gradual.

The wind swings west of south in a storm,--the fall will be sudden.

A snowstorm begins, for a short time only.

A cloudy day clears at sunset.

Snow flurries are seen.

The sky shows green and the clouds look hard.

       *       *       *       *       *

The temperature will rise when:

A thunderstorm is brewing, or a day or two before a winter cyclone.

After a thunderstorm if another is to follow.

The morning is free from clouds and if it is not the first day of a cold

The wind dips south of west or south of northeast, the former shift
bringing the more sudden rise.

The sun sets as a ball of fire, at which one can easily look.

A snowstorm gets under way, unless the wind is swinging toward the north.


One satisfying thing about meteorology is that there is a constantly
widening field for conquest. Among the questions that await solution are:

What are the relative densities of clouds?

What is the original atmospheric electricity, its distribution and laws?

What are the causes and nature of precipitation?

Will aërial ascents on all sides of an atmospheric disturbance discover
the mechanism of storms?

What relations are there of solar radiation to our atmosphere?

What influence do lunar tides bear to our weather?

On what does the permanence of the summer lows over the Rockies depend?

These questions are only samples. Many certainties can be attained by
merely complete observations over a longer period of time, others by new
systems of observations that await a more generous appropriation. Even the
upper air investigations on Mt. Weather, Va., have had to be curtailed.
The Bureau's record has proved it efficient, of enormous benefit to the
country, and deserving of the encouragement instead of the depreciation of
every citizen.


In every city the Bureau causes flags to be flown from some prominent
place so that a glance may show shippers and everybody who may be
concerned at the shortest possible notice just what the approaching
weather conditions are.

A plain white flag means fair weather.

A black triangle stands for temperature and is always exhibited with some
other flag. Its relative position, either above or below indicates higher
or lower temperature. Therefore white flag with the black below means fair
and colder. The white flag with the black above means fair and warmer.

A white flag with a black square in the center means a cold wave.

A blue flag means either rain or snow.

The blue with the black above would mean rain or snow and warmer.

The blue with the black below would mean rain or snow and colder.

A blue and white flag means a local shower. The same meanings are attached
to the black triangle in connection with the blue and white.

A red triangle indicates a dangerous local storm, is called the
information flag meaning that shippers should apply to the Bureau for news
of the direction in which the storm is travelling.

A red square with a black center means severe winds.

1. Southwesterly with a white triangle below.

2. Northwesterly with a white triangle above.

3. Northeasterly with a red triangle above.

4. Southeasterly with a red triangle below.


Maximum Temperature

    United States, 134 at Greenland Ranch, Cal., July, 1913.

    World, 134 at Greenland Ranch, Cal.

Minimum Temperature

    United States, -65 at Miles City, Mont., January, 1888.

    World, -98 at Verkhojansk, Siberia.

Absolute Zero of Space

    -459 degrees Fahrenheit.

Maximum Annual Precipitation

    United States, 167.29 inches at Glenora, Oreg., in 1896.

    World, 905.1 inches, Cherrapunji, India, 1861.

Maximum Monthly Precipitation

    United States, 71.5 inches at Helen Mine, Cal., January, 1909.

    World, 366 inches, Cherrapunji, India, July, 1861.

Maximum 24 Hour Precipitation

    United States, 21 inches at Alexandria, La.

Minimum Annual Precipitation

    United States, none at Bagdad, Cal., in 1913. (Only 3.93 inches fell
    at Bagdad during period 1909 to 1913, inclusive.)

Maximum Annual Snowfall

    United States, 786 inches at Tamarack, Cal., 1911.

Maximum Monthly Snowfall

    United States, 390 inches at Tamarack, Cal., January, 1911.

Maximum Wind Velocity

    United States, 186 miles per hour at Mt. Washington, on Jan. 11, 1878.
    (Much higher velocities have undoubtedly occurred in tornadoes, etc.,
    but have not been susceptible of instrumental measurement.)




_The textbooks for outdoor work and play_

¶ Each book deals with a separate subject and deals with it thoroughly. If
you want to know anything about Airedales an OUTING HANDBOOK gives you all
you want. If it's Apple Growing, another OUTING HANDBOOK meets your need.
The Fisherman, the Camper, the Poultry-raiser, the Automobilist, the
Horseman, all varieties of out-door enthusiasts, will find separate
volumes for their separate interests. There is no waste space.

¶ The series is based on the plan of one subject to a book and each book
complete. The authors are experts. Each book has been specially prepared
for this series and all are published in uniform style, flexible cloth

¶ Two hundred titles are projected. The series covers all phases of
outdoor life, from bee-keeping to big-game shooting. Among the books now
ready or in preparation are those described on the following pages.



1. EXERCISE AND HEALTH, by Dr. Woods Hutchinson. Dr. Hutchinson takes the
common-sense view that the greatest problem in exercise for most of us is
to get enough of the right kind. The greatest error in exercise is not to
take enough, and the greatest danger in athletics is in giving them up. He
writes in a direct matter-of-fact manner with an avoidance of medical
terms, and a strong emphasis on the rational, all-round manner of living
that is best calculated to bring a man to a ripe old age with little
illness or consciousness of bodily weakness.


2. CAMP COOKERY, by Horace Kephart. "The less a man carries in his pack
the more he must carry in his head," says Mr. Kephart. This book tells
what a man should carry in both pack and head. Every step is traced--the
selection of provisions and utensils, with the kind and quantity of each,
the preparation of game, the building of fires, the cooking of every
conceivable kind of food that the camp outfit or woods, fields or streams
may provide--even to the making of desserts. Every recipe is the result of
hard practice and long experience.


3. BACKWOODS SURGERY AND MEDICINE, by Charles S. Moody, M. D. A handy book
for the prudent lover of the woods who doesn't expect to be ill but
believes in being on the safe side. Common-sense methods for the treatment
of the ordinary wounds and accidents are described--setting a broken limb,
reducing a dislocation, caring for burns, cuts, etc. Practical remedies
for camp diseases are recommended, as well as the ordinary indications of
the most probable ailments. Includes a list of the necessary medical and
surgical supplies.

4. APPLE GROWING, by M. C. Burritt. The various problems confronting the
apple grower, from the preparation of the soil and the planting of the
trees to the marketing of the fruit, are discussed in detail by the
author. Chapter headings are:--The Outlook for the Growing of
Apples--Planning for the Orchard--Planting and Growing the
Orchard--Pruning the Trees--Cultivation and Cover Cropping--Manuring and
Fertilizing--Insects and Diseases Affecting the Apple--The Principles and
Practice of Spraying--Harvesting and Storing--Markets and Marketing--Some
Hints on Renovating Old Orchards--The Cost of Growing Apples.

5. THE AIREDALE, by Williams Haynes. The book opens with a short chapter
on the origin and development of the Airedale, as a distinctive breed. The
author then takes up the problems of type as bearing on the selection of
the dog, breeding, training and use. The book is designed for the
non-professional dog fancier, who wishes common sense advice which does
not involve elaborate preparations or expenditure. Chapters are included
on the care of the dog in the kennel and simple remedies for ordinary

6. THE AUTOMOBILE.--Its selection, Care and Use, by Robert Sloss. This is
a plain, practical discussion of the things that every man needs to know
if he is to buy the right car and get the most out of it. The various
details of operation and care are given in simple, intelligent terms. From
it the car owner can easily learn the mechanism of his motor and the art
of locating motor trouble, as well as how to use his car for the greatest
pleasure. A chapter is included on building garages.

7. FISHING KITS AND EQUIPMENT, by Samuel G. Camp. A complete guide to the
angler buying a new outfit. Every detail of the fishing kit of the
freshwater angler is described, from rodtip to creel, and clothing.
Special emphasis is laid on outfitting for fly fishing, but full
instruction is also given to the man who wants to catch pickerel, pike,
muskellunge, lake-trout, bass and other freshwater game fishes. Prices are
quoted for all articles recommended and the approved method of selecting
and testing the various rods, lines, leaders, etc., is described.


8. THE FINE ART OF FISHING, by Samuel G. Camp. Combine the pleasure of
catching fish with the gratification of following the sport in the most
approved manner. The suggestions offered are helpful to beginner and
expert anglers. The range of fish and fishing conditions covered is wide
and includes such subjects as "Casting Fine and Far Off," "Strip-Casting
for Bass," "Fishing for Mountain Trout" and "Autumn Fishing for Lake
Trout." The book is pervaded with a spirit of love for the streamside and
the out-doors generally which the genuine angler will appreciate. A
companion book to "Fishing Kits and Equipment." The advice on outfitting
so capably given in that book is supplemented in this later work by
equally valuable information on how to use the equipment.

9. THE HORSE--Its Breeding, Care and Use, by David Buffum. Mr. Buffum
takes up the common, every-day problems of the ordinary horse-users, such
as feeding, shoeing, simple home remedies, breaking and the cure for
various equine vices. An important chapter is that tracing the influx of
Arabian blood into the English and American horses and its value and
limitations. Chapters are included on draft-horses, carriage horses, and
the development of the two-minute trotter. It is distinctly a sensible
book for the sensible man who wishes to know how he can improve his horses
and his horsemanship at the same time.

10. THE MOTOR BOAT--Its Selection, Care and Use, by H. W. Slauson. The
intending purchaser is advised as to the type of motor boat best suited to
his particular needs and how to keep it in running condition after
purchased. The chapter headings are: Kinds and Uses of Motor Boats--When
the Motor Balks--Speeding of the Motor Boat--Getting More Power from a New
Motor--How to Install a Marine Power Plant--Accessories--Covers, Canopies
and Tops--Camping and Cruising--The Boathouse.

11. OUTDOOR SIGNALLING, by Elbert Wells. Mr. Wells has perfected a method
of signalling by means of wig-wag, light, smoke, or whistle which is as
simple as it is effective. The fundamental principle can be learned in ten
minutes and its application is far easier than that of any other code now
in use. It permits also the use of cipher and can be adapted to almost any
imaginable conditions of weather, light, or topography.

12. TRACKS AND TRACKING, by Josef Brunner. After twenty years of patient
study and practical experience, Mr. Brunner can, from his intimate
knowledge, speak with authority on this subject. "Tracks and Tracking"
shows how to follow intelligently even the most intricate animal or bird
tracks. It teaches how to interpret tracks of wild game and decipher the
many tell-tale signs of the chase that would otherwise pass unnoticed. It
proves how it is possible to tell from the footprints the name, sex,
speed, direction, whether and how wounded, and many other things about
wild animals and birds. All material has been gathered first hand; the
drawings and half-tones from photographs form an important part of the


13. WING AND TRAP-SHOOTING, by Charles Askins. Contains a full discussion
of the various methods, such as snap-shooting, swing and half-swing,
discusses the flight of birds with reference to the gunner's problem of
lead and range and makes special application of the various points to the
different birds commonly shot in this country. A chapter is included on
trap shooting and the book closes with a forceful and common-sense
presentation of the etiquette of the field.

14. PROFITABLE BREEDS OF POULTRY, by Arthur S. Wheeler. Mr. Wheeler
discusses from personal experience the best-known general purpose breeds.
Advice is given from the standpoint of the man who desires results in eggs
and stock rather than in specimens for exhibition. In addition to a
careful analysis of stock--good and bad--and some conclusions regarding
housing and management, the author writes in detail regarding Plymouth
Rocks, Wyandottes, Orpingtons, Rhode Island Reds, Mediterraneans and the

15. RIFLES AND RIFLE SHOOTING, by Charles Askins. A practical manual
describing various makes and mechanisms, in addition to discussing in
detail the range and limitations in the use of the rifle. Treats on the
every style and make of rifle as well as their use. Every type of rifle is
discussed so that the book is complete in every detail.

16. SPORTING FIREARMS, by Horace Kephart. This book is the result of
painstaking tests and experiments. Practically nothing is taken for
granted. Part I deals with the rifle, and Part II with the shotgun. The
man seeking guidance in the selection and use of small firearms, as well
as the advanced student of the subject, will receive an unusual amount of
assistance from this work. The chapter headings are: Rifles and
Ammunition--The Flight of Bullets--Killing Power--Rifle Mechanism and
Materials--Rifle Sights--Triggers and Stocks--Care of Rifle--Shot Patterns
and Penetration--Gauges and Weights--Mechanism and Build of Shotguns.

17. THE YACHTSMAN'S HANDBOOK, by Herbert L. Stone. The author and compiler
of this work is the editor of "Yachting." He treats in simple language of
the many problems confronting the amateur sailor and motor boatman.
Handling ground tackle, handling lines, taking soundings, the use of the
lead line, care and use of sails, yachting etiquette, are all given
careful attention. Some light is thrown upon the operation of the gasoline
motor, and suggestions are made for the avoidance of engine troubles.

18. SCOTTISH AND IRISH TERRIERS, by Williams Haynes. This is a companion
book to "The Airedale," and deals with the history and development of both
breeds. For the owner of the dog, valuable information is given as to the
use of the terriers, their treatment in health, their treatment when sick,
the principles of dog breeding, and dog shows and rules.

19. NAVIGATION FOR THE AMATEUR, by Capt. E. T. Morton. A short treatise on
the simpler methods of finding position at sea by the observation of the
sun's altitude and the use of the sextant and chronometer. It is arranged
especially for yachtsmen and amateurs who wish to know the simpler
formulae for the necessary navigation involved in taking a boat anywhere
off shore. Illustrated with drawings. Chapter headings: Fundamental
Terms--Time--The Sumner Line--The Day's Work, Equal Altitude, and
Ex-Meridian Sights--Hints on Taking Observations.

20. OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHY, by Julian A. Dimock. A solution of all the
problems in camera work out-of-doors. The various subjects dealt with are:
The Camera--Lens and Plates--Light and Exposure--Development--Prints and
Printing--Composition--Landscapes--Figure Work--Speed Photography--The
Leaping Tarpon--Sea Pictures--In the Good Old Winter Time--Wild Life.

21. PACKING AND PORTAGING, by Dillon Wallace. Mr. Wallace has brought
together in one volume all the valuable information on the different ways
of making and carrying the different kinds of packs. The ground covered
ranges from man-packing to horse-packing, from the use of the tump line to
throwing the diamond hitch.

22. THE BULL TERRIER, by Williams Haynes. This is a companion book to "The
Airedale" and "Scottish and Irish Terriers" by the same author. Its
greatest usefulness is as a guide to the dog owner who wishes to be his
own kennel manager. A full account of the development of the breed is
given with a description of best types and standards. Recommendations for
the care of the dog in health or sickness are included. The chapter heads
cover such matters as:--The Bull Terrier's History--Training the Bull
Terrier--The Terrier in Health--Kenneling--Diseases.


23. THE FOX TERRIER, by Williams Haynes. As in his other books on the
terrier, Mr. Haynes takes up the origin and history of the breed, its
types and standards, and the more exclusive representatives down to the
present time. Training the Fox Terrier--His Care and Kenneling in Sickness
and Health--and the Various Uses to Which He Can Be Put--are among the
phases handled.

24. SUBURBAN GARDENS, by Grace Tabor. Illustrated with diagrams. The
author regards the house and grounds as a complete unit and shows how the
best results may be obtained by carrying the reader in detail through the
various phases of designing the garden, with the levels and contours
necessary, laying out the walks and paths, planning and placing the
arbors, summer houses, seats, etc., and selecting and placing trees,
shrubs, vines and flowers. Ideal plans for plots of various sizes are
appended, as well as suggestions for correcting mistakes that have been
made through "starting wrong."


25. FISHING WITH FLOATING FLIES, by Samuel G. Camp. This is an art that is
comparatively new in this country although English anglers have used the
dry fly for generations. Mr. Camp has given the matter special study and
is one of the few American anglers who really understands the matter from
the selection of the outfit to the landing of the fish. His book takes up
the process in that order, namely--How to Outfit for Dry Fly Fishing--How,
Where, and When to Cast--The Selection and Use of Floating Flies--Dry Fly
Fishing for Brook, Brown and Rainbow Trout--Hooking, Playing and
Landing--Practical Hints on Dry Fly Fishing.

26. THE GASOLINE MOTOR, by Harold Whiting Slauson. Deals with the
practical problems of motor operation. The standpoint is that of the man
who wishes to know how and why gasoline generates power and something
about the various types. Describes in detail the different parts of
motors and the faults to which they are liable. Also gives full
directions as to repair and upkeep. Various chapters deal with Types of
Cycle Motors.

27. ICE BOATING, by H. L. Stone. Illustrated with diagrams. Here have been
brought together all the available information on the organization and
history of ice-boating, the building of the various types of ice yachts,
from the small 15 footer to the 600-foot racer, together with detailed
plans and specifications. Full information is also given to meet the needs
of those who wish to be able to build and sail their own boats but are
handicapped by the lack of proper knowledge as to just the points
described in this volume.

28. MODERN GOLF, by Harold H. Hilton. Mr. Hilton is the only man who has
ever held the amateur championship of Great Britain and the United States
in the same year. In addition to this, he has, for years, been recognized
as one of the most intelligent, steady players of the game in England.
This book is a product of his advanced thought and experience and gives
the reader sound advice, not so much on the mere swinging of the clubs as
in the actual playing of the game, with all the factors that enter into
it. He discusses the use of wooden clubs, the choice of clubs, the art of
approaching, tournament play as a distinct thing in itself, and kindred

29. INTENSIVE FARMING, by L. C. Corbett. A discussion of the meaning,
method and value of intensive methods in agriculture. This book is
designed for the convenience of practical farmers who find themselves
under the necessity of making a living out of high-priced land.

30. PRACTICAL DOG BREEDING, by Williams Haynes. This is a companion volume
to PRACTICAL DOG KEEPING, described below. It goes at length into the
fundamental questions of breeding, such as selection of types on both
sides, the perpetuation of desirable, and the elimination of undesirable,
qualities, the value of prepotency in building up a desired breed, etc.
The arguments are illustrated with instances of what has been
accomplished, both good and bad, in the case of well-known breeds.

31. PRACTICAL DOG KEEPING, by Williams Haynes. Mr. Haynes is well known to
the readers of the OUTING HANDBOOKS as the author of books on the
terriers. His new book is somewhat more ambitious in that it carries him
into the general field of selection of breeds, the buying and selling of
dogs, the care of dogs in kennels, handling in bench shows and field
trials, and at considerable length into such subjects as food and feeding,
exercise and grooming, disease, etc.


32. THE VEGETABLE GARDEN, by R. L. Watts. This book is designed for the
small grower with a limited plot of ground. The reader is told what types
of vegetables to select, the manner of planting and cultivation, and the
returns that may be expected.

33. AMATEUR RODMAKING, by Perry D. Frazer. Illustrated. A practical manual
for all those who want to make their own rod and fittings. It contains a
review of fishing rod history, a discussion of materials, a list of the
tools needed, description of the method to be followed in making all kinds
of rods, including fly-casting, bait-fishing, salmon, etc., with full
instructions for winding, varnishing, etc.

34. PISTOL AND REVOLVER SHOOTING, by A. L. A. Himmelwright. A new and
revised edition of a work that has already achieved prominence as an
accepted authority on the use of the hand gun. Full instructions are given
in the use of both revolver and target pistol, including shooting
position, grip, position of arm, etc. The book is thoroughly illustrated
with diagrams and photographs and includes the rules of the United States
Revolver Association and a list of the records made both here and abroad.

35. PIGEON RAISING, by Alice MacLeod. This is a book for both fancier and
market breeder. Full descriptions are given of the construction of houses,
the care of the birds, preparation for market, and shipment. Descriptions
of the various breeds with their markings and characteristics are given.
Illustrated with photographs and diagrams.

36. FISHING TACKLE, by Perry D. Frazer. Illustrated. The subtitle is
descriptive. "Hints for Beginners in the Selection, Care, and Use of Rods,
Reels, Lines, etc." It tells all the fisherman needs to know about making
and overhauling his tackle during the closed season and gives full
instructions for tournament casting and fly-casting. Chapters are included
on cases and holders for the care of tackle when not in use.

37. AUTOMOBILE OPERATION, by A. L. Brennan, Jr. Illustrated. Tells the
plain truth about the little things that every motorist wants to know
about his own car. Do you want to cure ignition troubles? Overhaul and
adjust your carbureter? Keep your transmission in order? Get the maximum
wear out of your tires? Do any other of the hundred and one things that
are necessary for the greatest use and enjoyment of your car? Then you
will find this book useful.

38. THE FOX HOUND, by Roger D. Williams. Author of "Horse and Hound".
Illustrated. The author is the foremost authority on fox hunting and
foxhounds in America. For years he has kept the foxhound studbook, and is
the final source of information on all disputed points relating to this
breed. His book discusses types, methods of training, kenneling, diseases
and all the other practical points relating to the use and care of the
hound. An appendix is added containing the rules and regulations of hound
field trials.

39. SALT WATER GAME FISHING, by Charles F. Holder. Mr. Holder covers the
whole field of his subject devoting a chapter each to such fish as the
tuna, the tarpon, amberjack, the sail fish, the yellow-tail, the king
fish, the barracuda, the sea bass and the small game fishes of Florida,
Porto Rico, the Pacific Coast, Hawaii, and the Philippines. The habits and
habitats of the fish are described, together with the methods and tackle
for taking them. The book concludes with an account of the development and
rules of the American Sea Angling Clubs. Illustrated.

40. WINTER CAMPING, by Warwick S. Carpenter. A book that meets the
increasing interest in outdoor life in the cold weather. Mr. Carpenter
discusses such subjects as shelter equipment, clothing, food, snowshoeing,
skiing, and winter hunting, wild life in winter woods, care of frost bite,
etc. It is based on much actual experience in winter camping and is fully
illustrated with working photographs.

41. WOODCRAFT FOR WOMEN, by Mrs. Kathrene Gedney Pinkerton. The author has
spent several years in the Canadian woods and is thoroughly familiar with
the subject from both the masculine and feminine point of view. She gives
sound tips on clothing, camping outfit, food supplies, and methods, by
which the woman may adjust herself to the outdoor environment.

42. SMALL BOAT BUILDING, by H. W. Patterson. Illustrated with diagrams and
plans. A working manual for the man who wants to be his own designer and
builder. Detail descriptions and drawings are given showing the various
stages in the building, and chapters are included on proper materials and

43. *READING THE WEATHER, by T. Morris Longstreth. The author gives in
detail the various recognized signs for different kinds of weather based
primarily on the material worked out by the Government Weather Bureau,
gives rules by which the character and duration of storms may be
estimated, and gives instructions for sensible use of the barometer. He
also gives useful information as to various weather averages for different
parts of the country, at different times of the year, and furnishes sound
advice for the camper, sportsman, and others who wish to know what they
may expect in the weather line.

44. BOXING, by D. C. Hutchison. Practical instruction for men who wish to
learn the first steps in the manly art. Mr. Hutchison writes from long
personal experience as an amateur boxer and as a trainer of other
amateurs. His instructions are accompanied with full diagrams showing the
approved blows and guards. He also gives full directions for training for
condition without danger of going stale from overtraining. It is
essentially a book for the amateur who boxes for sport and exercise.

45. TENNIS TACTICS, by Raymond D. Little. Out of his store of experience
as a successful tennis player, Mr. Little has written this practical guide
for those who wish to know how real tennis is played. He tells the reader
when and how to take the net, discusses the relative merits of the
back-court and volleying game and how their proper balance may be
achieved; analyzes and appraises the twist service, shows the fundamental
necessities of successful doubles play.

46. *HOW TO PLAY TENNIS, by James Burns. This book gives simple, direct
instruction from the professional standpoint on the fundamentals of the
game. It tells the reader how to hold his racket, how to swing it for the
various strokes, how to stand and how to cover the court. These points are
illustrated with photographs and diagrams. The author also illustrates the
course of the ball in the progress of play and points out the positions of
greatest safety and greatest danger.

47. TAXIDERMY, by Leon L. Pray. Illustrated with diagrams. Being a
practical taxidermist, the author at once goes into the question of
selection of tools and materials for the various stages of skinning,
stuffing and mounting. The subjects whose handling is described are, for
the most part, the every-day ones, such as ordinary birds, small mammals,
etc., although adequate instructions are included for mounting big game
specimens, as well as the preliminary care of skins in hot climates. Full
diagrams accompany the text.

48. THE CANOE--ITS SELECTION, CARE AND USE, by Robert E. Pinkerton.
Illustrated with photographs. With proper use the canoe is one of the
safest crafts that floats. Mr. Pinkerton tells how that state of safety
may be obtained. He gives full instructions for the selection of the right
canoe for each particular purpose or set of conditions. Then he tells how
it should be used in order to secure the maximum of safety, comfort and
usefulness. His own lesson was learned among the Indians of Canada, where
paddling is a high art, and the use of the canoe almost as much a matter
of course as the wearing of moccasins.

49. HORSE PACKING, by Charles J. Post. Illustrated with diagrams. This is
a complete description of the hitches, knots, and apparatus used in making
and carrying loads of various kinds on horseback. Its basis is the methods
followed in the West and in the American Army. The diagrams are full and
detailed, giving the various hitches and knots at each of the important
stages so that even the novice can follow and use them. It is the only
book ever published on this subject of which this could be said. Full
description is given of the ideal pack animal, as well as a catalogue of
the diseases and injuries to which such animals are subject.

51. *LEARNING TO SKATE, by J. F. Verne. The general problem of the art of
skating is taken up from the standpoint of the man or woman who puts on
skates for the first time. Fundamental rules are laid down for learning
the simpler strokes, carrying the reader on through to speed and fancy
skating. Advice is included on the proper skates and clothing.

52. *TOURING AFOOT, by Dr. C. P. Fordyce. Illustrated. This book is
designed to meet the growing interest in walking trips and covers the
whole field of outfit and method for trips of varying length. Various
standard camping devices are described and outfits are prescribed for all
conditions. It is based on the assumption that the reader will want to
carry on his own back everything that he requires for the trip.

53. *THE MARINE MOTOR, by Lieut. Frank W. Sterling, U. S. N. Illustrated
with diagrams. This book is the product of a wide experience on the
engineering staff of the United States Navy. It gives careful descriptions
of the various parts of the marine motor, their relation to the whole and
their method of operation; it also describes the commoner troubles and
suggests remedies. The principal types of engines are described in detail
with diagrams. The object is primarily to give the novice a good working
knowledge of his engine, its operation and care.

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