Learn to Read the Sky


RFD-TV meteorologist Joe King shares his insights on weather-related topics each week.

How many times have you looked at the sky and wondered, “Is the weather changing?” One way to tell is by observing the cloud formations approaching overhead. When you see a “Mackerel Sky” (cumulus clouds that resemble mackerel fish scales), coupled with “‘Mares’ Tails,” (wispy cirrus clouds in the shape of a horse’s tail), remember this the old adage:

“Mackerel Sky and Mares’ Tails keep tall ships with low sails.”


High cirrus clouds (in the image below) resemble mare’s tails.


When you see a combination of both (like in the photo below), winds will often increase with the chance of rain and thunderstorms occurring within the next 6 to 8 hours.