Is the moon filling up with rain?

Don Schwenneker Image
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
How the winter and summer paths of the moon differ.
How the winter and summer paths of the moon differ.

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Wednesday morning, Mary from Oxford called and told me this story: "My grandma always said that when the moon is a crescent and pointed toward the sky, it's filling up with water. And it won't rain again until the moon is full. Is that true?" I've heard a lot of weather lore, but that is a new one for me. So, let's research it together...

The moon's path does change this time of year. As its path goes around the Earth, it looks like it tilts more to the right. It doesn't. It's just the angle changing. It does look like it's filling up (instead of water, I would say it fills with milk).

From what I've been able to find, there may actually be some truth to the grandma's saying above. This time of year the weather pattern does change, and we do get more stretches of dry air. In the olden days, they didn't have a forecast at their fingertips and would notice these patterns over several years. They would then come up with these sayings.

Just looking at 2017 (and a year does not a pattern make), we haven't seen more than a trace of rain since September 12th. We are coming to a full moon, the Harvest Moon on October 5th and the rain could happen this weekend. The moon would then 'empty'. Kind of neat!

Incidentally, as we head toward springtime and the moon tilts back to the right, some native American tribes felt that was the winter moon tipping over to empty out the spring rains.

BTW... Have you ever wondered why the moon looks so giant when it's close to the horizon, but it's gets tiny as it climbs through the sky? Believe it or not, the size never changes. I'll explain that, here, tomorrow.

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