Wondering about the Weather

“What’s the forecast?” Each morning and throughout every day at Voyageur we are continually asked about the weather. We print a forecast for the area in the morning but with today’s access to the internet people want to know an up to the minute forecast. They would love for us to pull up the radar image on the internet too.

I like to know what the weather is going to do. It helps me plan and prepare when I’m heading out into the Boundary Waters.  Do I need a tarp over my gear? Should I wear my rain gear?  One way to not completely rely on the forecast is to just keep these items easily accessible at the top of your pack while you’re paddling the BWCA.

When looking for a forecast for our area we usually look at the Superior National Forest or Ely and then come up with our own idea of what our weather is going to do.  We don’t look at Grand Marais because our weather is never the same as it is in town.  Grand Marais is 60 miles away and has the influence of Lake Superior so our weather is way different.

Like elsewhere in the USA it is a rare occasion when the forecast is accurate. What to do? If you’re heading into the BWCA wilderness with no access to forecasts then it might be helpful if you  learn to read the clouds or memorize some weather folklore and become your own weather forecaster.

  • Rain before seven, clear by 11.
  • When the dew is on the grass, rain will never come to pass.
  • When grass is dry at morning light, look for rain before the night.
  • Rainbow in the morning gives you fair warning.
  • Halo around the sun or moon then expect rain real soon.
  • When smoke descends, good weather ends.
  • When the wind is out of the east tis neither good for man or beast
  • When the ditch and pond offend the nose, then look out for rain and stormy blows.
  • When sound travels far and wide, a stormy day will betide.
  • When clouds look like black smoke a wise man will put on a cloak.


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