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Long range forecasting

Most of the natural forecasting methods are for the short range. Long range proverbs are also exists, but most of them have no meteorological basis. Some of them being more accurate than others, but with all of them being controversial.

To find universally acceptable long range proverbs is even more difficult than with short range believes: long range weatherlores are very diverse from country for country, depend much more on the climatic features of the region.



1. Hedgehog

February 2nd

One of the few, widely used long range weather belief is connected with February 2nd, the Candlemas Day:

According to an old English song:

2. Brown bear

„If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again.”

The Roman legions, during the conquest of the northern country, supposedly brought this tradition to the Germans, who picked it up and concluded that if the sun made an appearance on Candlemas Day, an animal, the hedgehog, would cast a shadow, thus predicting six more weeks of bad weather, which they interpolated as the length of the "Second Winter."

In several countries it was believed that animals would come out on February 2nd to judge the quality of the weather.

3. Groundhog

In Hungary for example the shadow of a brown bear is observed while in the United States the so-called Groundhog Day is a very popular tradition.

„If the groundhog sees his shadow
we will have six more weeks of winter.”

The groundhog's seasonal forecasting accuracy is somewhat low. According to an analysis it’s Winter prognostications have been correct only 39% of the time.

Summer Rain Signs

An other generally beleived weather rhyme, which in time varying from country to country is connected with  summer rains. 

„If on the eighth of June it rain
That foretells a wet harvest, men sayen”

In France the weather on the feast of Saint Medard (June 8th) is said to determine whether the next weeks will be wet or dry. If it rains, the rain will continue for four or five weeks, or recur at haying time. In Norway and in Hungary they say that rain on June 8th will last for forty days. In Flanders the day is July 6th, the feast of Saint Godelive, and in Germany it is the Seven Sleepers' Day, June 27th.

„If it rains at Seven Sleepers Day, the rain will stay seven weeks more.”

In England is 15th July, St. Swithin's Day is the day on which people watch the weather for tradition says that what ever the weather is like on St. Swithin's Day, it will continue so for the next forty days.
There is a weather-rhyme is well known throughout the British Isles since Elizabethan times.

„St Swithin’s Day, if it does rain
Full forty days, it will remain
St Swithin’s Day, if it be fair
For forty days, t'will rain no more."

These summer-rain weather beleives work more or less in about 70% of the cases.


Compiled by Vera Schlanger - Hungarian Meteorological Service
Scientific reviewing: Dr. Ildikó Dobi Wantuch / Dr. Elena Kalmár - Hungarian Meteorological Service, Budapest
Last updated 2003-12-13

For more details, and many other long range folklore predicting, visit the following sites:




last updated 09.07.2005 17:42:50 | © ESPERE-ENC 2003 - 2013