I remember looking at the red sky out the back window of our house one summer evening when I was young and my mother telling me the old rhyme "Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red in the morning, sailors take warning." When I saw this sky in downtown Portland last week, it brought that memory back and got me wondering if there is any truth to it.

Townsqaure Media
Townsqaure Media

The saying dates back almost 2000 years to the New Testament. Matthew 16:2-3 reads:

He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.

And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering

When you look at the science behind the red sky, you start to find the answer.

According to The Library of Congress, a red sky at night is caused by light from the setting sun that is sent through a concentration of dust particles which usually is an indication of the high pressure and stable air coming in from the west. Good weather is coming.

When you see a red sky in the morning, it's the opposite because the sun is rising in the east, so those dust particles have already passed and low pressure system could be following, bringing with it rain and stormy weather.

So the science behind red skies backs up the saying, but like weather forecasts, things could change, so don't bank on what's to come based on the color of the sky.

More From Q97.9