Appalachian Dialect Celebrating Appalachia Videos Weather

Cloud Bursts, Little Noahs, & Other Rain Sayings

rainy day

We’ve had so much rain! The backyard is a lake and every where you look you see soupy mud. We did have three glorious dry days this week. The sun shone and it was just wonderful, but now the rain is back again and isn’t supposed to stop till next Tuesday!

Since I’ve been walking through water every time I go outside I decided to do a video about—you guessed it rain!

I hope you enjoyed the video and I hope we get to dry out sometime soon!

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  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    February 26, 2021 at 11:15 pm

    Do you have any silver maple trees in your area? I don’t think they are common in southwestern North Carolina but there are some. There was a patch of them along the creek at Uncle Wayne’s house at Lauada. They are a good predictor of rain. They make a noticeable display of the bottom of their leaves in anticipation of rainfall. Their predictions are not always perfect but they are a lot better than the weather channel.
    One interesting thing about a silver maple is that when you pull a leaf and submerse it gently in water the bottom of the leaf takes on a silver color. And if you take it back out equally as gently the bottom will come out dry. I assume the name silver maple comes from the way it looks under water. The top of the leaf is slick and sort of waxy looking like many other tree leaves have but the bottom has a velvety look to it. Your mention of trees turning up their leaves got me to thinking (“uh-oh, here he goes again, trying to do the thinking thing!”) that their ability to predict rain might have something to do with the texture of the bottom of their leaves.

    Oh, and water droplets will bead up on the bottom of a silver maple.

  • Reply
    February 26, 2021 at 7:57 pm

    My mother used to say that if it rained on St. Swithin’s Day (July 15th) it would rain for forty days. If it was fair on St. Swithin’s Day it would be fair for forty days.

  • Reply
    February 26, 2021 at 5:08 pm

    I have already commented one time, but after reading the other comments about bad clouds , I have to think of my mother and my grandparents-her parents. They lived through a tornado on May 5, 1933 that came within 100 yards of their house before turning and hitting her aunts house about a quarter mile away, killing all of the family. She was 6 years old and was terrified of a thunderstorm for the rest of her life. Anytime a thunderstorm came up when I was young and my grandparents were still living we would get in a car during a bad thunderstorm. I guess they thought that could drive away from it if there was a tornado. If anyone is interested, you can google Belton, SC May 5, 1933 tornado. Her aunt’s family were the Thompsons of the Lebanon community. At one time not too long ago this tornado was considered in the top 5 of the worst in SC. She was in her mother’s arms standing on the back porch watching it come straight toward them before it turned.

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    February 26, 2021 at 4:46 pm

    Old friend used to say, “Hit wuz uh frawg-stranglin’ rain”. My Granpa Mauney said if it the sun was shining in the rain it would rain the same time tomorrow..

  • Reply
    February 26, 2021 at 3:02 pm

    My parents also said “the bottom fell out”! But the one that fascinated and terrified me was, “we’re in a cloud burst!”, while traveling across the Cumberland Plateau, and no visibility. Did the high mountain stab the cloud, I wondered? These are all great.

  • Reply
    February 26, 2021 at 2:06 pm

    My farmer husband likes to say “more rain, more rest”. Another one not mentioned is if it rains on the first day of the month we will have rain fifteen days that month. Enjoy your blog from middle Tennessee.

  • Reply
    Janis M. Zeglen
    February 26, 2021 at 1:15 pm

    Every time my mama would look up and see dark sky, she would say it’s about to come up a bad cloud! Thanks for sparking so many memories!

  • Reply
    Ray Presley
    February 26, 2021 at 11:12 am

    Most city folks have missed out on some good, unique experiences from falling rain, especially when you’re asleep and a hard rain starts falling on those tin roofs. Also, when expecting rain we would always make sure that the downspouts were directed into our cistern, which was used for bathing and washing clothes

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    February 26, 2021 at 10:23 am

    On many of the old ships I served in during my Navy years freshwater was a problem. The ship’s evaporators could barely make enough freshwater to provide water for the boilers, personnel’ and housekeeping needs. When the Evaps were not working correctly “Water Hours” were imposed. No showers and only necessary cleaning. Boiler water came first. The rain was welcome! It washed the salt off that accumulated on the ship and I have seen instances of up to a hundred naked men on deck in the rain with their soap scrubbing away.

  • Reply
    February 26, 2021 at 10:09 am

    Many in your video I haven’t heard. ‘ Goose drownder’ is close to frog or toad strangler.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    February 26, 2021 at 9:31 am

    “Come on down sweet drops of rest!” Mama said they would chant this in the cotton patch when a few drops began to fall.

    • Reply
      February 26, 2021 at 10:35 am

      Yes, Wanda, when farmers (or gardeners) had been working so hard & long hours trying to get the seed in the ground -or in the barn – to ‘beat the rain’ it was a relief to sleep after the rain came down! Up here in Ohio I can only imagine the relief in a cotton field!

  • Reply
    February 26, 2021 at 9:22 am

    It does seem to be wetter than usual this year in Greenville, SC , but I am not going to complain, I remember some years in the past when the creeks around this area even dried up. It has only been a couple of years ago when we went for 3 months with a total of about 1 inch of rain for three months. My friend plants 30-35 thousand sweet potato plants each year and he didn’t break even that year.. We live in an area of Greenville County that seems to have less rain each summer than other areas of the county. We kid and say we’re are the hole in a doughnut, it rains all around us but not on us. My father in law and some of the older men that farm would say one season will follower another season. What that meant was a dry season will follower a wet season.

    Do any of you remember Jerry Clower calling bad thunderstorms hurrrinaders. Spell check is having a fit but he was saying they were a combination of a hurricane and a tornado. I tell people we are going to have to drop the driveshafts on our trucks and put a boat propeller on them. I have also heard it said during during a dry spell you are not paying the preacher.

  • Reply
    February 26, 2021 at 9:21 am

    It’s raining like poring water out of a bucket is a common saying in my family. I think the rain you are getting now is headed my way. The weatherman just said we could get up to three inches by Sunday and some locally heavier totals. The past few sunshiny days gave me spring fever and I hoped it would last until I could get the garden plowed. Rain is depressing unless it falls on a hot summer day.

  • Reply
    Wanda Robertson
    February 26, 2021 at 9:18 am

    Love it! Your post is very timely because it is pouring down rain in Northwest Alabama right now. A week ago, our ground was covered with two inches of ice, so I’ll take the rain!

  • Reply
    Sallie the apple doll lady
    February 26, 2021 at 8:58 am

    You certainly covered a lot on the subject
    of rain, most I have heard but some I had forgotten. But something reminded me that my oldest brother used to tell his kids when they saw the clusters of fog around the mountains and ridges after a rain that the rabbits were brewing their coffee. Have you ever heard that? I grew up sleeping in an upstairs room under a tin roof and love that sound. Right now here in Middle Tn it’s pouring on my metal roof. It’s such a comforting sound and I love watching the rain pouring off the roof. With last week’s 5” snowfall it was the sound of long icicles crashing to the ground. Yesterday I pulled weeds in my garden. What a difference a week makes.

    • Reply
      February 26, 2021 at 9:41 am

      Sallie-never heard the one about rabbits brewing their coffee but I love it!!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    February 26, 2021 at 8:29 am

    This has been a wet winter and a colder one as well. I had to stay out of the garden for about 10 days because it was so wet. I had special occasions for two of the three sunny days but I got an old man’s day in the garden yesterday.

    The range of all those descriptive terms shows a good understanding of the mountain weather. I don’t think I know a single new one to add. At least nothing comes to mind.

  • Reply
    February 26, 2021 at 8:10 am

    I don’t recall many expressions except maybe, “It came a rainstorm.” I recall the fear that was felt by many in the mountains when coal mining was at its peak. In those days before safety regulations it was common for something called sludge ponds or coal slurry impoundments to be a by product of coal mining. Vulnerable small communities or coal camps were often built right below. A big rain could be a disaster, as these sludge ponds could wash down the mountainside taking out a house or even sometimes a community. An example would be the devastating Buffalo Creek floods. I can remember staying with my cousins, and my uncle worked night shift. A heavy rain came, so my Aunt loaded us in the car to flee from the house. Apparently there was a slurry pond right above their house. I found this to be extremely exciting. I recently took a picture of that house for a cousin, and that old house is still standing strong. Coal mines would sell these houses to occupants after the mine was worked out. Regardless, I always felt there is no great location to choose in the mountains. In Winter it is treacherous to drive off the mountains, but Spring rains often bring flooding and problems for the occupants of the lowlands. It is still a wonderful place to live, and I still look forward to a good thunderstorm in the Spring.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 26, 2021 at 8:02 am

    How about a “toad strangler”that’s what Forrest used to call those downpours. It just keeps coming here with rain this morning through sometime next week!

  • Reply
    Margie Goldstein ( and the green man)
    February 26, 2021 at 7:58 am

    Rain, rain go away. Don’t come back for many a day!!! When everything starts to turn green ( from rot,) your trees shed their bark then fall like an axe had at them in the wind and weak mud, all the buds freeze and there’s no fruit or nuts, there’s few squirrels or groundhogs, then you’ll be up to speed with what’s happening in my neck of the woods. When you can count dry and sunny days in a year on your toes and fingers, come talk to me, lady friend. Is it real? Am I nuts? You look at the evidence and then draw your own conclusions. They say the devil writes in green and is a fan of green rot. I don’t know about that but ask why not….. Swain County is a Bigfoot hot bed that fascinates me…. if you hear a long whistle, leave the woods and quickly is my advice. Very interesting stuff….

  • Reply
    Sharon Schuster
    February 26, 2021 at 7:44 am

    Toad strangler is another version I have heard.
    On the farm, a good indication that rain was coming was when all the cows laid down in the pasture. Always right. I heard that they do that so they have a dry spot to lay on. Smart! If it was going to be a big rain, they would head for the barn.
    I always get excited after a rain when God sets his colorful rainbow in the sky. Promises kept.

    • Reply
      February 26, 2021 at 8:22 am

      That is so interesting! We don’t have cows, but lots of folks around us do. I’m going to be on the lookout next time they call for rain. Love those old timey bits of lost wisdom.

  • Reply
    Carol Roy
    February 26, 2021 at 7:43 am

    Great sayings about rain enjoyed your post and esp. love your accent. Try to stay dry.

  • Reply
    Buz Salmon
    February 26, 2021 at 6:58 am

    Tipper, maybe you mentioned this one but I didn’t hear it and besides the ones you talked of the one I grew up with and still use the most is ” it’s raining like cats and dogs”
    And a little off topic but I know you heard: the devil is beating his wife. When it is raining and the sun is shining. Thanks Tipper. Oh I never heard of a “lil Noah”

    • Reply
      February 26, 2021 at 8:27 am

      We always grew up saying the common phrase, it’s raining cats and dogs. I think I might start using “toad strangler” instead, lol!

  • Reply
    February 26, 2021 at 4:51 am

    My farmer husband uses “Mo’ rain mo’ rest”, it seems like, a lot lately.
    Gulley washer is one I grew up hearing and still use.
    A voice like rain on a tin roof – that’s a good one!

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