“Red sky at night, sailors’ delight. Red sky at morning, sailors take warning”

Dear Tom,

Very early in my long life I heard the adage “Red sky at night, sailors’ delight. Red sky at morning, sailors take warning”. Is there any truth to this phrase?

Thanks,
Mary Anne Boehm
Elmhurst

Dear Mary Anne,

There sure is. Variations of this adage can be traced back to biblical times and are based on the experiences of mariners who sailed the Earth’s middle latitudes, where storms generally travel from west to east. The sky appears red when the setting or rising sun illuminates the underside of clouds. A red sunset often means that there are clouds in the east and clear skies to the west, an indication of approaching high pressure and good weather. Red skies in the morning can mean clouds invading from the west, often the forerunner of approaching storms.

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