Is It Always Calm Before a Storm?
Have you ever heard someone talk about “the calm before the storm”? If you’ve seen storms up close, you know there’s usually nothing calm about them! So what are people talking about?
The calm — sometimes called a lull — before the storm is a common phrase. It refers to a period of peace or rest that comes right before a time that is very busy or hectic. When you think about it, it just makes sense.
Have you ever been suddenly very busy with activities or lots of excitement? If so, the period of time before that started might seem peaceful by comparison. There’s actually a little more to it than that, though.
The calm before the storm started as a phrase sailors used. They were referring to an actual weather phenomenon they observed at sea. They noticed that, just before a storm, the air around them seemed to get very still. Even the waves would calm for a few moments. Soon, the clouds would gather and they’d hear the first clap of thunder. They started calling those few moments the calm before the storm.
Have you ever noticed this phenomenon? Pay close attention to your surroundings, and you might! The next time you’re outside, use your senses. Do you hear birds singing? Do you see other animals scurrying across the ground? Maybe you even feel a slight breeze. If all of that stops around the same time, you may soon have a storm on your hands.
You may be WONDERing why it’s often calm before a storm. The science behind storms can help us understand. First, it’s important to know that warm air is like fuel for a storm. As a storm moves, it pulls warm, moist air from the surrounding atmosphere.
The warm, moist air travels up through the clouds. It cools and condenses as it feeds the storm. Then, that air is pushed out of the tops of the storm clouds. Once it’s pushed out, the air makes its way back down toward Earth. As the air descends, it gets warmer and drier. As it covers an area, things tend to get quiet and calm. Many animals sense the change and know a storm is coming. They take shelter, so you won’t see or hear them. This is the calm before the storm!
Of course, things don’t always happen this way. There are many different types of storms that can behave in many different ways. Sometimes storms aren’t preceded by calm. Instead, they announce their arrival with wild winds and cracks of thunder.
Many people today prefer to watch the weather forecast. They stay inside and avoid the storm altogether. But if you find yourself outside just before a storm, watch for changes in the air. Do you notice your surroundings start to calm? What other signs are there?
Read more at Wonderpolis.org