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Do cows really lie down when it's about to rain? Top five weather myths BUSTED

Mirror logo Mirror 18/07/2017 Sophie Curtis

Brits' fascination with the weather is well-known, and few have not heard the saying "red sky at night, shepherd's delight", or that it can be "too cold to snow".

But a new survey, conducted by the Met Office, has found that the use of "traditional" methods to predict the weather is far more prevalent than expected.

Over half of UK adults surveyed think that these methods are accurate to some degree, and incredibly, almost two thirds (64%) think that they can be more reliable than official forecasts.

Video: Five popular weather myths, debunked (Business Insider)

However, nearly half (48%) of UK adults who have used traditional methods to predict the weather admit they have been "caught out".

To help separate fact from fiction, experts at the Met Office have teamed up with radio DJ and television presenter Scott Mills to investigate the science behind the folklore.

"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," said Met Office meteorologist and presenter Charlie Powell.

"Others are nothing more than old wives' tales."

So which of these folklore methods are based on science and which are simply myths?

1/ Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight

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83% of Brits believe this to be true – and according to the Met Office, they are largely CORRECT .

This is because high pressure tends to lead to good weather. High pressure traps dust and dirt in the air, which scatters blue light, only leaving the red light remaining – hence the reddish appearance of the sky. 

2/ It can be too cold to snow

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62% of Brits believe this fact – but it's NOT CORRECT in the UK.

The colder the air gets (for example -20 degrees) the less water vapour there is in the air, reducing the likelihood of snow.

However, there are many other deciding factors when it comes to whether it will snow or not, and it is unlikely that in the UK we would experience temperatures cold enough to make it less likely to snow

3/ Cows lie down when it is about to rain

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61% of Brits believe this to be an accurate way of forecasting rain – and according to the Met Office, this is FALSE .

There is no scientific backing for this at all. Cows lie down for a number of reasons – including just having a rest – and there is no evidence to suggest it is related to the likelihood of rain. 

4/ Pine cones open up when good weather is coming

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55% of UK adults believe this is true – and they are CORRECT .

In dry weather, pine cones dry out, which causes their scales to stand out more stiffly, giving an ‘open’ appearance. In damp conditions, they become more flexible and return to a more closed shape.

5/ Rain before seven, fine by eleven

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32% of Brits believe that if it is raining at 7am, the weather will be fine by 11am - and they are OFTEN CORRECT .

Weather systems in the UK are often spawned in the Atlantic, and these systems can sweep across the UK very quickly. So, on many occasions, four hours will allow enough time for the rain to pass. But, in some conditions, such as when there is a lack of wind, rain can hang around for much longer 


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