It’s March, and there’s that old adage, “In like a lion, out like a lamb.” Sometimes it’s the other way around. I think this time the month definitely came in like a lion. As I write this article, the wind is blowing pretty hard and the lights are occasionally blinking. Even with the flue closed, the wind is whistling through the fireplace. And, of course, we had that rather loud thunderstorm at 2 in the morning. We don’t generally have thunderstorms in the middle of winter. It was a doozy.
The month is definitely coming in like a lion -- with a lot less snow than I was used to as a kid. We had a rainstorm in the middle of the night, complete with a thunderstorm. Could there be anything further from a Buffalo winter in that scenario? Could you imagine if that hard rain we got last night was a snowstorm? Like some people say, “If you want to experience everything Buffalo has to offer weather-wise, wait ten minutes.”
We tend to use a lot of idioms when it comes to weather. It’s not just the lion and the lamb. We rely on a woodchuck to let us know when winter will end and spring will arrive. That tradition began in Europe where it was either a bear or a badger that was the prognosticator of the seasonal change. Of course, we use a groundhog in the United States because we don’t need no stinking badgers.
My grandmother used to repeat that old saying, “Red in the morning, sailors take warning. Red at night, sailor’s delight.” I still jabber it once in awhile when I actually get up early enough that the sun isn’t reaching for noon. My kids have no idea what I’m talking about, but then again, I didn’t either. All I know is that it had something to do with pressure systems.
Another big piece of weather lore around the area dealt with seagulls. Whenever there was a storm out over Lake Ontario seagulls would congregate inland. The further inland, the worse the storm. So, if they were hanging out in Lockport, the storm must have been really bad. It was either that or they loved Reid’s or the burger joints on Transit.
There was one big storm that came in off the lake during the summer. I must have been about 14 or 15. There were seagulls all over the neighborhood. My brother was playing at a friend’s house across the street, and they had wandered into the woods. The wind suddenly came up very fast. Gusts were about knocking me over. My mother sent me into the woods to find Bobby. Trees were bending. I found his as quickly as I could and took him home.
That storm made the news. Water in the lake receded, exposing the lakebed for a significant distance. Meteorologists said there was no tornado, but I have family members from Medina who beg to differ. There was quite a bit of damage. So, I guess that time the seagulls were correct. I’m not sure how true that old wive’s tale is, but I still put money on it.
How many of you still use weather proverbs like these? Are there any special to you and your family?
Craig Bacon still believes in the Seagull Theory. He thinks it means there’s a storm coming. Because of that, he avoids the new Walmart.