Weather report from a backwoods airhead with a college education

Rising trout splash to the surface to pick off mayflies. (Provided photo — Joe Hackett)

Despite the best efforts of man or beast, weather is likely more often to be the determining factor in any type of outdoor endeavor. Weather systems, barometric conditions and wind patterns all come together to deliver the day’s weather.

In the Adirondacks, weather patterns tend to be as fickle as a kid in a candy store, and they often offer no pattern.

The problem is due to a number of issues and a wide range of variables that include elevation, ground cover, air pressure and wind that is always too heavy or too light. When wind is mentioned, it is usually a topic of sailors, skiers or slackers who have nothing else to complain about.

As a man whose occupation is regulated by the weather, l have learned to keep one eye on the sky at all times.

Whenever possible, my focus is not on the sky, but rather on what is in the sky, including birds, insects, cloud cover and color, wind speed and more.

Whether by luck, good fortune or similar circumstance, I was equally blessed with a big nose and an uncanny sense of barometric air pressure — sort of a backwoods airhead with a college education. Unfortunately, this unique combination has very little practical application, beyond knowing when there is a patch of instability in the air.

ln most occupations — other than house painters and meteorologists — this odd talent would be of no use, beyond knowing when to take an umbrella as you leave the house in the morning.

However, due to a vocational need to read the sky, this unique talent has provided me with a sort of weird natural backwoods Accu-Center. I suppose the fact that l was also endowed with an oversized nose at birth may have something to do with it. Fortunately, it is useful talent that has been applied numerous times over the years.

Forecasting the weather accurately has been an instrumental talent for me as a woodsman. Although l have learned to read a variety of natural and man-made indicators of approaching foul weather over the years, l primarily trust my nose.

For those who do not qualify for nature airhead status, there is still help. Learning to recognize advancing low pressure fronts is as easy as popping your ears or observing obvious indicators such as birds flying low over the waters to pick up emerging flies that will soon be gathering around your head, which is another prime indicator of barometric instability.

In all matters relating to weather, which are also closely connected to all matters relating to fish, game and weather, l continue to trust my nose beyond all the gadgets, forecasters and the Doppler radar reports. Fortunately, l don’t have to travel far to get a sense of the day’s potential weather patterns.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.75/week.

Subscribe Today