Evaluating Weather Myths

by Emily Baird on November 9, 2009 at 6:29 am

Do these sayings ring a bell?

"When a cow lies down, bad weather is coming."

"If a groundhog sees his shadow on Groundhog’s Day, the weather will remain cold for six more weeks," or how about "Red in the morning, sailors take warning. Red at night, sailors’ delight"?

They are weather myths, some of which have been passed down from generation to generation, and in the first part of WHIZ’s "Storm Team Series," Forecaster Emily Baird sees if she can put any weather myths, dealing with your health, to rest.

"My mother used to say something about standing in a draft or sleeping in a draft will cause a cold, but that never panned out," says Zanesville resident Christy Swope.

What about "Going outside with a wet head of hair will make you catch a cold"?

Swope says she doesn’t believe that one either.

"Simply because I am a hair stylist, and I do that all the time, " says Swope.

Barnesville resident Charles Wilson had a similar reaction.

"I think it’s caused by germs, " says Wilson.

Licking County Health Commisisoner, Joe Ebel, says he can back Wilson up on that claim.

"A cold is caused by a virus. So, you can feel cold, but that’s not going to make you sick, " says Ebel.

So, if it isn’t the immediate cause, can it still contribute to your getting sick?

"I suppose if you have some allergy or sinus issues that might aggravate it, " says Swope.

But does this theory hold true to other cold weather myths?

"The argument to put your coat on when you were a little kid because you’re going to catch a cold probably wasn’t the case unless you got cold enough that it weakened your immune system, " says Ebel.

Ebel says if your immune system is weakened, it can be harder for your body to fight off viruses.

Yet, Ebel says not all weather myths are incorrect-for instance-if someone can tell it’s going to rain or storm based on how their joints feel.

"There’s some truth to that because of the barometric pressue changes. Sometimes your bodies react to that even though you may not realize that’s what it is, " says Ebel.

So, you may want to think twice when it comes to discrediting all weather myths.

I’m Emily Baird for WHIZ News.

Tomorrow, Forecaster Emily Baird will uncover just how many local farmers trust predictions from the Farmer’s Almanac.