Mares' Tails & Mackerel Scales. Photography & Text by Keith R Wahl

March 15, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

Weather lore in action

Mares' Tails & Mackerel Scales

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Mares Tails & Mackeral Scales 20230312 850_7521Mares' Tails & Mackerel ScalesSunday afternoon on the edge of a weather front at Scarborough Beach. Mares' tales and mackerel scales in the sky are indicators of an incoming storm.

This photo, as I write this, was taken two days ago. Right now, it is blowing at about 15 knots out of the northwest. Yesterday, it rained and snowed. And I was telling my family that this would occur, because of what is observed here and a little weather lore. 

The saying is, “Mare’s tails and mackerel scales make tall ships take in their sails.”

A “mackerel sky” is one that has a lot of cirrocumulus clouds. These often precede an approaching warm front. Warm fronts can bring veering winds and precipitation. The winds create thready clouds with "mares' tails". This weather proverb is an apt way to describe how a sailor would respond upon seeing these clouds.

Mares' Tails & Mackerel Scales at Scarborough Beach, Narragansett, Rhode Island


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© Keith R Wahl, Made From RI/Made From RI Gallery, 2023. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Keith R Wahl and Made From RI/Made From RI Gallery with appropriate and specific direction to the original. 

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