So, what is a Blue Norther?

Texas Folklore has a unique term that is true Texas lingo when they speak of the “Blue Norther!” 

Although similar terms emerge in other cultures the blue norther is as Texas as the Longhorn. In other areas of the world, you may hear “blue whistler,” “blue darter,” or “blue blizzard” but they pale in comparison to a true “Blue Norther!” 

So, just what is a Blue Norther? 

It is a weather occurrence that consists of a fast-moving cold front that features a huge foreboding blue bank of clouds that sweep in from the northwest. 

Oldtimers, say it happens when the bobwire fence north of Amarillo gets knocked down by fierce winds that buffet and roil through the western sky, sometimes turning day into night thereby dropping temperatures at an alarming rate. 

Many discussions emerge as to why it is called a Blue Norther. One says that it is the appearance of the sky after the weather front pushes through, and another says it is a proven fact that folk literally turn blue as the temperatures drop. But true Texas old-timers know that it is nothing more than a fast-approaching blue-black cloud bank sweeping out of the panhandle that will make you take notice! 

A Blue Norther can dramatically cause temperatures to plunge 30 to 40 degrees in minutes bringing gusty winds of 30 to 40 miles per hour and often rain, hail, and sometimes sleet or snow. One of the most dramatic blue northers occurred in November of 1911 as reported by the Denton Record and Chronicle. 

It reported, “The transition from summer to winter was a matter of little more than minutes. At 5 o’clock the mercury showed 85 above. At 6 o’clock, thirty minutes after the blue norther struck, it had descended to 68 and continued to descend until 7 o’clock Sunday morning when the minimum was registered – 22 above, a drop of 63 degrees in a little more than twelve hours.”          

My ol’ Daddy would say, “Boys, keep an eye on the weather, my ol’ bones tell me we got a blue norther acomin’.”



Texas is renowned for the art of telling of tales,

Be it weather, horses, or horn,

By the color you use, or the daring of trails,

A Texan’s story is born.


Now the old folks held by tradition, hard an’ true’

Facts handed down thru eons of time,

By ancestors from yesteryear an’ then to you,

Related thru tale an’ rhyme.


Stories are often told in sunshine or shade,

Not one man would ridicule,

When you ponder the weather, predictions are made,

But only by newcomer or fool,


But to see a sign that happens again an’ again,

With facts that give you a clue,

Ponder with a furrowed brow that ends in a grin,

Your story will be pert near true.


The happenin’s of the day help a story unwind,

An’ then it hits you like a flash

Helpin’ a story emerge an’  flicker through your mind,

Tho borderin’ on balderdash.


The day dawned with a warm sun an’ a balmy breeze,

Tho, big change was in the air,

Then the wind was jerky like waves upon the seas,

Givin’ clouds a certain flare.


The horizon in the northwest began to grow dark,

Clouds took on an ominous look,

Silhouettes of faraway mountains looked cold an’ stark,

Like the lair of a crook.


An’ the horizon they saw became dark an’ blue,

The children climbed that windmill frame,

To check the progress of approaching storm within their view,

A most wonderful country game.


Then the wind picked up as clouds scudded acrost the sky,

Rumbling and roiling along, 

Building and banking like the hand of God on high,

Like a wielding force grows strong.


And the warmth of the morning relinquished its grip,

As the chill of the wind bit deep,

The sudden drastic change caused temperatures to slip,

And into your very being seep.


 Then came the moisture, with crescendo would grow,

And the warmth turned into cold,

While the wind howled as only northers can blow,

And the clouds stacked up blue an’ bold.


And a dipper of water was dashed to the ground,

But froze solid on its way,

Cat took the blow of the icy club and was dead when found,

That’s how it happened that day.


Now these harsh an’ hard conditions that came our way,

With wind an’ rain an’ maybe hail,

Brought story to mind for the old folks to say,

An’ therein lies an honest tale.


And what was seen this day stimulates a fertile mind.

Giving cause to exaggerate,

And a blueprint comes forth with nought left behind,

As a new story you create! 


Texas is renowned for the art of telling of tales,

Be it weather, horses, or horn,

By the color you use, or the daring of trails,

A Texan’s story is born.

  ©  Ol’ Jim Cathey     


Bring Glory to God by attending a church of your choice                                                       Maybe join us at First Baptist Church in Marlin, Texas. 

Where we will hear a sermon by our prospective pastor!

 God Bless each of you and God Bless America!








The Marlin Democrat

251 Live Oak St
Marlin, TX 76661
Phone: (254) 883-2554
Fax:(254) 883-6553