These are periods of the year formulated by Alexander Buchan an eminent meteorologist in the 19th century, who, working from his Edinburgh base, found that there were throughout the year periods when the temperature and conditions were either cooler or warmer than the average, hence the names cold and warm periods. These periods are fixed dates, and many will coincide with other material factors to be of considerable value. I have used them for over 30 years and find them, even here in the SE, quite reliable.COLD PERIODS:
February 7th to 14th.
April 11th to 14th.
May 9th to 14th.
June 9th to 14th.
29th June to 4th July.
November 6th to 13th.WARM PERIODS:
July 13th to 15th.
August 12th to 15th.
December 3rd to 14th.
NOTE: How accurate are the above? August warm period has provided the 'heat waves' of 2003 and 2006 in recent years.
It is also invariably mild in the two weeks before Christmas
Rain is invariably a visitor to Wimbledon Tennis at the end of June caused by the cold period.
The Blackthorn Winter 11th - 14th April and Ice Maidens 11th - 14th May
There are thirteen such Days of Prediction, all are fixed dates with the exception of Good Friday, that is a moveable Christian feast, all bear saints names, and each day gives an indication of the weather until the next such day. However, whilst Quarter Days can be very reliable wind direction indicators, Days of Prediction, whilst reasonable cannot be so accurate, and therefore, as such have to used with care and due regard to the surrounding data. They are however useful and have their uses.
25th January - St Paul.
2nd February - Candlemass.
21st March - St Benedict.
Good Friday - Moveable dates.
25th May - St Urban.
15th June - St Vitus.
24th June - St John.
15th July - St Swithun.
6th August - Transfiguration.
24th August - St Bartholomew.
29th September - Michaelmass.
11th November - St Martin.
21st December - St Thomas.
There are those that state that 6th August- Transfiguration Day - is also a Day of Prediction, however, my experience is that this is not reliable as such and as others have stated elsewhere it is out of sequence with the above. I therefore, over the years and experience have decided not to include this day in my methodology, which whilst included in some lists, is not in mine.
Detail for each of the above days is contained within the monthly data in which the day occurs, and since there are now nearly twelve months of monthly data on the website (how time flies!), it is possible to refer to each of the above min the appropriate month entry.
ALL THE NOTES CONCERNING DAYS OF PREDICTION ARE TAKEN DIRECTLY FROM UNCLE OFFA'S BOOK, NATURAL WEATHER WISDOM.
The author has annotated any comment where necessary, and this is so noted.
DAYS of PREDICTION IN DETAIL:
25th January, St Paul's Day, also known as St Annanias Day.
"If St Paul's Day be fair and clear We shall have a happy year.
But if we have but wind and rain dear will be the price of grain.
If clouds and mist do mark the sky Great store of birds and beasts will die."
Another from Devon:
"If St Paul’s Day be fine expect a good harvest, If it wet or showery be expect a famine.
If it is wind expect a war."
St Paul is said to reveal the weather for the year ahead. This is a good guide for the first six months, but after that tails off somewhat. However, it has been known to be 90% correct and in one year, 100% correct.
[Authors Note - Having religiously followed the following instructions by Uncle Offa for 15 years, the best result was 80%, and I found that up to the last week of June it is quite reliable, alas, after that it does tail off rapidly]
When following the weather on this day, it is necessary to observe and note down its phases hour by hour, or even every half hour throughout the day from 6am until 6pm. This is due to the belief that the hours of the day will reflect the weather month by month throughout that year.
Generally such signs are dependable to the end of July, but diminish thereafter.
2nd February, Candlemass Day.
At this coldest time of the year, this day has a host of sayings.
"If Candlemass Day be clear and bright, winter will have another flight.
But if it be dark with clouds and rain, winter has gone and will not come again."
"Cold weather at Candlemass means colder weather after the feast than before."
"If Candlemass be bright and clear, Half the winter's to come this year.
If Candlemass be stormy cloudy and black, It bears winter away on its back." From Wiltshire.
"If sun be bright on Candlemass Day there will be more frost after the feast than before." From Nottinghamshire.
"Where-ever the wind is on Candlemass day, There it will stay to the end of May." [Author note - this is near 100% true and so reliable too]
Candlemass is the first of the Wind forecast days that are worth noting for they tend to be very reliable.
However this wind day is not a true 90 day period (see Quarter Days), being out of sequence it is therefore to be treated with some caution.
21st March, St Benedict's Day. - also a Quarter Day.
"As the wind is on St Benedict&'s day. So it will stay for three months." [Very true]
This is a bold and emphatic statement that sometimes may sometimes appear to contradict St Paul's forecast. However, St Paul's day states the weather in general and makes no comment about wind direction.
Following St Benedict the next Wind day is St John on 24th June (Mid-summer's day), being just 96 days later.
Be guided on the wind on this day, and if the wind at Candlemass and St Benedict are contradictory, then St Benedict takes precedence.
Good Friday/Palm Sunday
Good Friday is Christian Day and a moveable feast, and as such deserves some explanation.
For this purpose one has to include, for historical reasons, Palm Sunday too.
It is asked how Neolithic forbearers managed to make predictions about Palm Sunday and Good Friday, especially since both are movable Christian feasts. The answer is the name Easter, which derives from Eastre, the Saxon moon-goddess, whose festival was celebrated about his time of year.
Following the Lunar year, March 21st the equinox was then New Year's Day and the festival was celebrated at the first full moon thereafter.
When the early church was being established, it took over the festival for its own celebration, and so Easter came into being as the first weekend after that full moon.
The Day of Prediction may have been the full moon in past times, but today it is regarded as Good Friday.
"If on Palm Sunday there be rain, that betokened to goodness. If thunder that day, then it signifieth a merrie year."
Palm Sunday is a fairly reliable prediction date, but Good Friday has an even better track record.
[Author note - over many years testing both, Good Friday does indeed have a better record]
"Rain on Good Friday and Easter day, A good year for grass and a bad year for hay." - In other words, a wet year.
"Rainy Easter, a cheese year,"
The significant logic of this is simple, grass needs rain, good grass gives good milk yields, hence a wet year gives a good cheese year.
[Authors note - since the above are moveable feasts, many of the significant following days, be they saint’s days or other holy days, too are movable. I.e. Pentecost, Corpus Christi and Ascension Day. It is therefore important to get these days and dates correct. There is a set formula for setting these dates and can be found in any reference library or from the internet. If taking such dates from a calendar or diary be additionally careful due to printing or submission errors. Accuracy is always the watchword]
25th May, St Urban's Day.
"St Urban gives the summer."
It is certain that this day will give at least a fair indication of what the weather will be like, but with the warning that the signs can be ambiguous or a little optimistic.
15th June, St Vitus Day.
"If St Vitus Day be rainy weather, 'T' will rain for forty days together."
This can be a gloomy forecast for it encompasses St Swithin (15th July) the best known rain date of all, and being only 30 days ahead implicates 70 days of rain.
Uncle Offa is of the opinion that this should be 30 days only, covering the period between the two dates. If accepted then the 30 days is found to be more reliable. [agreed by author]
24th June, St John (the Baptist) Day. Also Quarter Day and Mid-summer day.
"As the wind is on St John's day so it will be for three months."
"Mid-summer day rain spoils hay and grain."
Clearly a most important day with several entries found under the month of June.
The longest day of the year, it is near the summer solstice (21st June), the day when The sun rises and sets at its most northerly points.
The Druidical religion and in Witchery (Witchcraft) the most important ceremonies of the year are held, eg Stonehenge.
15th July, St Swithun's Day.
"St Swithin's Day if than dost rain Full forty days it will remain
St Swithin's Day, if thou art fair, Full forty days 'twill rain nae mair.'
Or as Shakespeare put it
"If on St Swithin’s feast the welkin lours, And every pent house stream with hasty showers
Twice twenty days shall clods their fleeces drain ,And wash the pavements with incessant rain."
This is the date for the sceptics for this day requires some thought. Most people in the UK are familiar with the significance of this day, and most of them, probably half, believe it. It may therefore be the only Day of Prediction known to the public at large.
St Swithin's Day is usually 'a bit of both,' day, half wet and half sunny. i.e. Sunny intervals and showers.
Therefore St Swithin's Day is far from straightforward and it is better to be prudent and hedge your bets accordingly, and keep your reputation.
6th August, Transfiguration Day (of the Blessed Virgin Mary).
"As the weather is on the day of Transfiguration so it will be for the rest of the year."
This was first heard in Devon and Dorset, Uncle Offa is not an advocate [and neither is the author]. t is over ambitious, unreliable and out of rhythm with the other Days of Prediction, which occur at regular intervals throughout the year.
It is not considered as a true day of Prediction and therefore treated with extreme caution.
[The author after 20 years of application found it most unreliable and now disregards this completely]
24th August, St Bartholomew's Day.
"All the tears that St Swithin can cry St Bartelmy's mantle will wipe dry."
Note then affirmative 'will' and not 'may.' If St Swithin is wet then St Bartholomew will be dry - NB - this can be as much as three days either way!
If however St Swithin is dry, "If Bartholomew's be fine and clear, then hope for a prosperous Autumn that year."
Note also that the saw speaks of fine weather and says nothing about rain. After this day you should expect dull or fine weather, but not, as a general rule, much rain.
There are always exceptions to every rule and in this weather forecasting, exceptions are part of the norm.
29th September, St Michael's Day (Michaelmass). And Quarter Day.
"As the wind is on St Michael's Day so 't' will be for three months" a fairly dependable indication as to the direction of the wind.
It does however occur around the period of the Equinoxal gales which may give a false reading locally. If gales coincide with this day, then wait a couple of days for a truer reading and forecast.
"A Quarter day, therefore a Wind day."
11th November, St Martin's Day - Martinmass and Wind Day (but not a Quarter Day)
The weather this day is said to fortell the weather for 3 months, furthermore where the wind blows on Martinmass Eve. "Where the wind blows this day, there 't' will remain for the rest of winter."
[Considered by the author to be one the most reliable and dependable wind days of the year.]
This is reinforced with the threat "Wind NW on Martinmass and severe winter to come."
This sounds gloomy, but it is the season for unsettled weather, with October and November crammed with weather signs affecting the oncoming winter and specific months in the New Year.
For example, St Clement's Day 23rd November, is said to give the weather for the following February [author - so does St Catherine on 25th November].
Note well these sayings for they often add up to a very accurate picture.
[NB Author's Note - Living in Kent (western Kent bordering Surrey) in SE England, recent years have shown that incidence of the near continent and the weather there has a greater effect on this part of the UK, than the weather from the west.
It is quite noticeable that the spring and summer periods are becoming warmer and dryer, but the winter and for the greater part, the weather extending well into late May, is much colder and dryer than previously.
The wind on this day is therefore arguable the most important single point for the winter in this area, since, if the wind is cold and strong from the east, or either side of this quadrant, then the perspective of a very cold, extremely cold at times, frosty or snowy winter is nearly guaranteed.
The persistence of the east wind however provides a 'cold blast' across the region at the very least until St Benedict (21st March) and in the last few years past St Urban (25th May) well into the second week of June. From the third week of June the south westerly's return.]
21st December, St Thomas's Day., Quarter day and Winter Solstice
"Look at the weather cock on St Thomas’ Day, the wind will remain for three months."
There are those who consider that this day should actually read ‘Christmas Day’,’ but St Thomas does have a better track record.
There are a string of sayings pertinent to Christmas, but most of them hold up better if they were associated with the Solstice, which is of course, St Thomas’ Day.
That ends the information concerning days of prediction that I have taken more or less, with the odd author’s comment, from Uncle Offa. I make no excuse for this, since over 25 years I have found all his information; with the caveats he inserts, to be accurate and reliable.
I have tried other systems, but after exhaustive trilling none matched the above.
There are four such days in the year and are closely allied to Quarter Days, they are:21st March - Spring or vernal equinox.
Eclipses of the sun (solar) or moon (lunar) also play their part in the methodology.
These occurrences are noted in the monthly data sheets as they occur.
Sometimes too, what is known as a Super-moon also occurs during such an event, a super-moon being when the moon appears to be larger, clearer or more radiant than normal.
Similarly there are also period formulated by the Met Office that give quieter or stormy periods throughout the year, these too are quite reliable, and again when combined with other similar data are quite informative.STORMY PERIODS:
If, on the New Moon, First Quarter, Full Moon or Last Quarter occur between the following hours, the weather here stated below is said to follow.
0000 - 0200hrs Fair.
0200 - 0400hrs Cold & showers.
0400 - 0600hrs Rain.
0600 - 0800hrs Wind & rain.
0800 - 1000hrs Changeable.
1000 - 1200hrs Frequent showers.
1200 - 1400hrs Very rainy.
1400 - 1600hrs Changeable.
1600 - 1800hrs Rain.
1800 - 2000hrs Fair - if NW wind. (NW Winds are uncommon in summer).
2000 - 2200hrs Rainy - if wind S or SW (more likely summer wind direction)
2200 - 2400hrs Fair.
0000 - 0200hrs Frost - unless wind SW (SW winds uncommon in winter).
0200 - 0400hrs Snowy (if cold enough) otherwise rain and stormy.
0400 - 0600hrs Rain.
0600 - 0800hrs Stormy.
0800 - 1000hrs Cold rain if wind North Westerly.
1000 - 1200hrs Cold & high winds.
1200 - 1400hrs Snow (if cold enough) and rain.
1400 - 1600hrs Fair & mild.
1600 - 1800hrs Fair.
1800 - 2000hrs Fair & frosty if wind NE or N.
2000 - 2200hrs Snow (if cold enough) and rain.
2200 - 2400hrs Fair & frosty.
It is to be remembered that these are GMT times and that one hour must be added during BST periods. Similarly, an hour must be added to the GMT times on the first day of each quarter during the BST period.
These tables I found whilst searching the archives at both Canterbury and Rochester cathedrals, and date from about 1150ad. I also found similar such tables in other old publications and records, the most recent being in a book 'Weather Lore' by Richard Inwards FRmetS.
I have used these over the years with considerable success, having said that there are some problems with deciding when winter ends and summer starts, and after much trial and error, I use the 1st April to 30th September as the summer period and the rest of the year is designated as winter.
One further problem is how to organise BST, and again after trial and error, together with experience I decide of the two readings I have (GMT or BST) which is more likely to occur, if I am undecided then I use the 'changeable' term.
I find that, provided you are accurate with the phase timings, the above is very reliable.
A Perigee is when the moon is nearest the earth.
An Apogee is when the moon is furthest from the earth.
If a Perigee occurs within 24 hours of a full moon, there is a proven correlation that the likelihood of a major natural disaster occurring at this period is raised 100%.
[An example is high tide at full moon - a spring tide even, combined with excessive water from heavy rains, and/or the surge of water (North sea surge) all combining together to cause a major flood - it is of note the Christmas Tsunami in the Pacific was on such a date, and there are numerous other such natural disasters that all fit into this category]
[Another more recent example is Hurricane sandy that devastated parts of the New York hinterland in 2012].
Therefore a Perigee at the time of a full moon is an extreme warning that should be heeded, and the preponderance for a major natural disaster, be it earthquake, tsunami, acute flooding, volcano eruption etc increases by 100%. Those within tidal areas should be particularly aware.
However, it is also possible to have such a natural catastrophe adjacent to an Apogee, when the full moon is present and the tides are high, as in the recent 'Sandy' hurricane in the NE USA and the Caribbean.
Not generally acknowledged but these two events, Apogee and Perigee, should be treated with the utmost respect, especially when all the other parameters fall into place.
Perigee and Apogee dates and times can be obtained from the internet, the Official NASA and US Navy sites being proven reliable sources. Please avoid the astrology sites for these dates.
Again a word of caution here when using such data, please ensure your exact position (as in moon data) is correct.
However a very good and reliable site:
Will give you Moon Phases. Eclipse, Sunrise, Sunset, Apogee and Perigee data too.
My definition of the South East of the UK is Dover along the coast of the North Sea to Lowestoft, then inland to the A14, down the A14 to the northern orbital road around London to the A3 at Guildford and then south through Surrey and West Sussex to the English Channel and back to Dover, everything within that area is the South East.
I appreciate that within such an area there will be regional differences at times, but for the greater it holds very well. For the whole of Kent and East Sussex it is very accurate
A Super-moon, is a moon that is much larger and brighter than the average moon.
The terminology was defined in 1979 by Richard Nolle, the astrologer as a new or full moon which occurs with the Moon at or near (within 90%) its closest approach to earth in a given orbit (perigee). In short, Earth, Moon and Sun are all in a line, with the moon at its nearest approach to earth.
Richard Nolle also argues that with +/- 3 days of a supermoon, the earth more subject to natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanic activity Moon’s increased gravitational force (raised by 18%).
A full moon at perigee is 12% larger and brighter than an average full moon.
When allied to the previous column of Apogee and Perigee dates and times, the inclusion of Supermoon dates becomes significant, and thus the entry.
Again this was not within the knowledge of persons in former times, but I consider this information to be important enough to enter, even as just a precautionary note, to my charts.
It is however worth noting that numerous comments, with on-going enquiries and research still in hand, as to what effect the supermoon at the time had on the 2011 Japanese earthquake.
To obtain detailed information concerning pending Supermoons just search the internet. However a very good and reliable site: www.timeanddate.com/calendar.html Will give you moon phases. Eclipse, sunrise, sunset, apogee and perigee data too.
There are four quarter days, similar, but not quite all the same as the old rent days, or university terms.
The wind direction on these days is a most reliable indicator of the predominant direction of the wind up to the next quarter day, or approximately 90 days ahead. These winds indicate the prevailing direction for the whole period up to the next such day, and, it must be borne in mind that there will be periodic variations from time to time.
Quarter Days can be fairly described as 'wind days.'
To confused matters a little more, there are also some days, not known as 'wind days' per se, November 11th - St Martin - being the best example, but such days are dealt with in detail under each monthly data sheet.The Quarter days are:
As a general rule the wind direction on 21st March will be easterly giving cold easterly winds up to at least 25th May (St Urban) and more likely (as in 2012 and 2013) well into the second week of June, when the direction changes to the south west bringing the warmer summer weather.
24th June will give south westerly warm winds, summer, and will last until 29th September, but stormy windy weather is more likely from 21st September (equinox) too.
29th September can be variable, by this I mean, some years it can be from the east giving very cold October and November weather, with frosts, it is however a dry wind which does not carry much moisture. It is preferable to have south westerly winds at this time to ensure a mild autumn (as in 2012). A cold wind this early can lead to a long cold winter.
21st December gives the winter wind and weather. If easterly then very cold (especially if May. However, some years it is from the south west (as in 2012) which then gives a wet and mild winter period, but this wind will change on 21st March. Which indicates why the winter 2012/2013 was so wet and mild, followed by a cold spring.
Over the years I consider that these wind dates are highly reliable and as such will always outweigh any official meteorological forecasts. This may cause some eyebrows to rise - just pause and consider the latest 'metspeak - jet streams,' compare the prevalence of these conditions to the quarter day wind direction. You may be surprised.