WADE BABINEAU EDITORIAL CARTOON: Saturday, March 28, 2020
CINDY DAY: MMM...marvellous maple
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I talk about the weather. A lot.
I produce 30 minutes of video every day. Most of that is weather forecast details, but I also like to share some of my Grandma’s wisdom and occasionally teach a little something along the way.
This letter from Sheila Woodcock made me smile.
“Always enjoy reading your page and the photos. When I saw this sky today, after reading about the system moving in, I couldn’t resist taking a photo and sending it to you! This is probably one of the best examples I have seen of a mackerel sky predicting change. Keep up the good work and thank you.”
Sheila’s photo is lovely and not only is it a great example of a mackerel sky, there’s a washboard sky in the mix, too.
First the mackerel sky. It’s so named because the cloud elements look like fish scales. Our ancestors believed – and for good reason – that when they saw this cloud overhead, there would be some moisture, but not much… “Mackerel sky, never long wet, never long dry.” Those clouds were associated with a weak disturbance that raced across the region Tuesday night.
Now to the washboard sky. The cloud elements are longer and look like the ridges of a washboard; they too are altocumulus clouds. Altocumulus clouds are mid-level clouds that often display visible rows or ripples, alternating with blue sky. These clouds are commonly found between weather systems and are a sign of approaching instability in the atmosphere.
What’s a special sky without a rhyme? Grandma Says – “Washboard sky – not three days dry.” Sheila snapped this photo Tuesday… and here we are. Grandma comes through again!
If you’re curious about something you’ve observed, drop me a line and I’ll do my best to explain it. A photo always helps: firstname.lastname@example.org
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- Have a weather question, photo or drawing to share with Cindy Day? Email email@example.com
Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network