Museum Founder’s Weather Information
January 2023

The following information was included in Axel Niemi’s book Michigan’s Glacial Gemstones of Northeastern Upper Peninsula. It is unclear if Axel researched this information, or more likely, these are his thoughts after decades of observing weather in Grand Marais. Because the Niemi family operated fish tugs for many decades, they were keen observers of the weather so as to not get caught out on Lake Superior in a storm.


Changes in wind and bad weather can usually be noted when distant objects, otherwise indistinct, loom out clear and sharp; when the sunset sky has red-tinged clouds floating high up in the sky. When crows seem to flit and tumble while flying; or in the spring on March 21, 22, or Equinox you notice which direction the wind blows and the winds for the next three months will prevail from that direction.

Fair Weather Signs

  1. At sunrise a grey and clear sky. At night, pale, grey night stars are visible, and skies are evenly grey after sunset. Early bird skies are also evenly grey all around the horizon before sunrise.
  2. Evening rainbows and the sun setting in a clear, red sky.
  3. Heavy morning dews on the ground. Evening mist that disappears in the rising morning sun.

Rainy Weather

  1. Before sunrise, the sky is red in the east.
  2. When stars and Milky Way show up clear and bright.
  3. When the sunset has a tinted halo around it.
  4. When the sun shines through a watery haze in the afternoon indicates a good sign of rain.
  5. When the grass is dry in the morning without dew.
  6. When sudden spiraling gusts of wind pick up dust on what at first is a fine day.
  7. When sparrows are seen busily washing in a puddle of water.
  8. It will keep raining when chickens keep on eating even after the rain begins to fall.

Other Weather Signs

  1. A red sky at night indicates fine weather. A red sky in the morning means bad weather or much wind or rain. A grey sky in the morning indicates fine weather.
  2. A light-yellow sunset indicates wind. A pale-yellow sky at sunset means rain.
  3. Soft-looking or delicate clouds foretell fine weather, with moderate breezes. Hard-edged oily, heavy-looking clouds indicate wind. The blacker, the more oily the clouds, the harder the wind will blow.
  4. The more ridged, tufted, darker, and rolled the clouds are, the stronger the winds.
  5. A dark, gloomy, blue sky is windy, while a light, blue sky means fine weather, but windy when there is low barometric pressure.
  6. Usually in the spring or post-equinox period, if there is a northerly windstorm and the wind dies down during sunset, you may be sure the storm will increase again at sunrise if the sky has not cleared and remains overcast with heavy clouds. The winds and stormy conditions will remain until the last of the cloud formations each day eventually disappear.

All in a Stone

Through aimlessly drifts clouds apart
Serenely green, God’s work of art.
Across a sea of mahogany
Cool ripples blend in harmony.
No man-made charms could ever feel
This handy work, so cool! So real.
Life’s endless struggles seem to float
Twix rippled waters, trouble-soaked.
This rusty tear drop streaked in green
Helps keep your chin up in between!

Old rockhounds never die – they just slowly petrify.
Old lapidarist’s never die – they slowly grind away their marbles.

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