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Episode 57 S2-22

How to Forecast the Weather


Special Guest:

Without Land Ch 22

James E. Hart

As the weather changes in the Without Land adventure so do Erika's perspectives. Here today to discuss the weather and how to predict it's changes is Survival professional and author of Urban & Wilderness Survival, Emergency Preparedness, James E. Hart.

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There are specific signs that indicate rain is on the way. Watch the animals and what they are doing. They will tell you if change is coming. Birds, specifically swallows, will be flying low if no change is expected but if they fly high that means high pressure is moving in. Squirrels and other animals will start to scurry around just before a storm, making sure they have their shelters shored up and their food supply in order. Watch these animals and see what their activities are in relation to the weather so you can make better future predictions.

Rhymes to Remember
Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky in the morning sailors take warning.
- Refers to a red sky formed by sunlight shining through dry air. When air is dry in the west, the westerlies are moving in. When it's in the east, the storm has passed.

In the morning mountains in the evening fountains.
- Refers to towering cumulus clouds that almost always bring in rain.

When the moon or sun is in his house, likely rain without.
-  Refers to a sky filled with with cirrocumulus clouds and indicates that a front is approaching. When a cold front hits a warm front it usually brings rain.

If the clouds are gathering thick and fast, keep sharp lookout for sail and mast but if they slowly onward crawl shoot your lines and nets to trawl. 
- Refers to thick fast clouds, indicating a cold front is coming fast or a in-coming slow, warm front that won't move in for a while.

Short notice soon will pass. Long notice long will last.
- Refers to the speed at which fronts approach. If it comes in fast it will likely blow over quickly but if it takes a long time to roll in chances are it's going to be there for a while.
Types of Clouds

High clouds are clouds that exist between 20,000 feet and above. These clouds can exist as high as 200,000 feet in the air. High clouds include: Cirrus, Cirrocumulus, Cirrostratus.


Mid-level clouds are clouds that exist at an altitude between 6500 feet and 20,000 feet, including: Altostratus, Altocumulus

Low clouds are clouds that exist lower than 6500 feet, including: Cumulus, cumulonimbus,   Stratus

Low clouds consist of little drops of water but high clouds are the most dangerous. This is because high clouds are caused by serious winds. This wind will push the little water droplets into the upper atmosphere where they turn to ice and fall. If the wind pushes the droplets back up before they can fall to the earth the hail will continue to grow larger and larger, depending on how many times the drop goes up-freezes-falls and gets pushed back up.

If you have an anvil shaped cirrostatus cloud it is because the upper air current has blown the top of the cloud. 

Clouds look like they are billowing because water is accumulating so fast you can see it, like a wave. When this happens it can turn into one heck of a thunderstorm.Watch which way the cloud is moving because if the bottom is low enough wind will start swirling that bottom and form a tornado. Tornadoes are more bothersome than hurricanes because the wind is more intense and unpredictable. 

There are also miscellaneous clouds. Fog is actually microscopic water droplets floating close to the earth. Green clouds are actually light reflecting off the green vegetation below but these green clouds are also very closely related to severe weather. 


You have to know the weather patterns in your area, the surrounding area and any areas you may plan on bugging out to. Try to predict the weather the night before and see if you get it right on the next day.

  Cirrocumulus, Cirrostratus
Cirrocumulus, Cirrostratus
Cumulonimbus, Stratus
Cumulonimbus, Stratus

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Without  Land Ch 22

James E. Hart

A veteran of 2 tours of duty in Viet Nam, James began his survival training at the age of 7 when he was stranded in the Mojave Desert for 7 hours without food or water during a family move in 1954. Since then he has been through the scouting program where he attained Life scout, served as Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmaster, Venture Advisor, and earned the Badden Powell Award. An avid outdoorsman, he has winter camped in Utah and northern Quebec, Canada, snowshoed in upstate New York, Utah and Quebec, and camped in the Mojave Desert of California, the Uintah Mountains of Utah, and the Piney Woods of East Texas, among numerous other locations. James has traveled and been through 42 of the 50 states of the US. Three provinces of Canada, sailed the Pacific Ocean, and crossed the Equator and 35 countries from jungles of South America to the Himalayas of Nepal.


Having earned an Associates of Photography Degree from Houston Community College, he has beautifully captured many of his travels with his camera.


Now retired from a career with the Trinity River Authority of Texas, James resides in Dallas, TX, where he lectures on Wilderness and Survival Training. He is the author of SWET Survival & Wilderness Experience Training, Urban & Wilderness Emergency Planning, 35 other booklets on wilderness training, monthly articles for Survival Life Magazine, and a column and articles for The Garland Messenger Newspaper. James also does workshops and speaking engagements.

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