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Name: Meghan
Status: student
Age: 13
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2001


Question:
Is the saying: A cow with it's tail to the west, makes the weather the best; A cow with it's tail to the east, makes the weather the least. true? If it is why?


Replies:
I don't think this method of weather forecasting is based on any scientific principles. However, given the accuracy of actual weather forecasts, it maybe should be looked at. Just kidding.

Vince Calder


Dear Meghan-

As with many weather proverbs or sayings, there may be some truth associated with the saying. I have not heard this particular saying before, but, growing up on a farm, and majoring in agriculture in college, I do know a little bit about cows.

Cows, when they are standing or resting, usually face away from the wind, especially if it is raining or snowing, to minimize getting their faces wet and cold. (When they graze, they prefer facing into the wind, as the breeze aims the tops of the grass towards them, although they often graze in a random pattern).

As a general rule, fair and dry weather occurs when the wind is blowing from the west. Wet and inclement weather occurs when the wind is blowing from the east. So, if the cows stand facing away from the wind when it is from the west, the weather is "best." Facing away from the wind when it is from the east, when we're more likely to have stormy or wet weather, or, "least" weather...

But, there are many exceptions to this rule... wet or stormy weather can occur with the wind from any direction, or even no wind at the surface at all. Likewise for dry and sunny weather. So this dosen't mean that cows are good weather forecasters..!

Wendell Bechtold, meteorologist
Forecaster, National Weather Service
Weather Forecast Office, St. Louis, MO


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