Folk weather forecasting has been around as long as there have been folk to scry the signs. My grandmother depended on rain ravens; my grandfather preferred caterpillars.
Non-believers tend to poke fun at such convictions, and their amusement may have contributed to the fad known as ‘weather rocks.’ A staple of my childhood, weather rocks offered tongue-in-cheek forecasts: wet rocks indicated rain, dry rocks meant sunshine. Fog meant an invisible rock, and if the rock was gone? A tornado had passed by.
Decades later, I discovered Cajun rope barometers. The object may differ, but the same principles apply.
Like that rope, the Spanish moss draping the oaks at a neighborhood nature center serves as a fine weather indicator, particularly when it comes to wind. On Saturday afternoon, in the calm preceding tropical storm Beta, it hung motionless toward the ground.
Eventually, it began to stir, indicating both the direction and speed of the wind.
Two hours later, swirling winds had taken hold, bringing clouds and, at last, rain.