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Dear Tom,
When I was younger, my grandma used to tell me if you could see the backs of the leaves on a tree, it was going to storm. Your thoughts?

Cheryl Molenda Dyer, Indiana

Dear Cheryl,
Weather folklore tales usually have a basis in scientific fact, and in the case that you have asked about, the explanation does make some meteorological and botanical sense. First off, it is important to understand that tree leaves are reacting to the weather right now and not forecasting a day or two ahead. Winds at the onset of rain and summer thunderstorms are often gusty and shifting, the kind of wind that will readily flip over tree leaves. Humidity also plays a factor since it is usually high before it rains. Moist air softens leaf stems, allowing the storm’s gusty winds to lift and turn the leaves more easily.