The Met Office gives its official verdict on whether weather folklore is actually true

Oliver Gill
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Red sky at night can lead to incredible imagery, but can you really plan your next day on it? (Source: Getty)

“Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight” so the saying goes. But with many of Britain’s farmers making plans for tomorrow based on such folklore, but is it actually true?

The clever boffins at the Met Office have decided to provide an official answer and solve arguments up and down the country.

Some 83 per cent of Brits think red sky in the evening bodes well for the next day. And the UK’s weatherman says they are right. High pressure – which tends to lead to good weather – traps dust and dirt in the air and scatters blue light. This leaves red light remaining to light up the sky.

Read more: After the sun comes rain: Met Office warns of thunder storms in South East

But we shouldn’t be too sure of ourselves. About 62 per cent of us think it can be too cold to snow, while 61 per cent think cows lie down when it’s about to rain.

If temperatures dip below -20 degrees there is less water vapour in the air and so less chance of snow forming. However, UK temperatures rarely fall to such levels.

Meanwhile, there is not much science behind bovine beasts parking themselves on the ground.

“Cows lie down for a number of reasons,” the Met Office said. “Including just having a rest.”

Weather broadcaster Charlie Powell said the Met Office had been “blown away” by how many people use traditional methods to forecast weather.

He said: “Some of these weather sayings are backed up by science and can help to give a sense of what sort of weather may be on its way."

Read more: The Met Office has issued an amber alert warning of a heatwave

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