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Storm prediction

Discussion in 'Research' started by caters, Dec 20, 2015.

  1. caters

    caters Sage

    I know that thundersnow, otherwise known as winter thunderstorm is rare because usually the lightning(which is as hot as 5 suns) melts all the snow produced into freezing rain or sleet. But sometimes the snow doesn't melt despite all the lightning.

    I have been outside looking at the weather for years. I have particularly looked for signs of a thunderstorm.

    Whenever I noticed strong gusts(sometimes strong enough to blow me a few inches if I wasn't prepared) and dark clouds I thought "This is going to become a thunderstorm." because I know how a thunderstorm forms.

    First water evaporates and transpires and forms cumulus clouds. These cumulus clouds then merge both horizontally and upwards to form cumulonimbus clouds. This is helped by wind and updrafts and is when you start feeling the wind picking up speed. As the clouds become more and more saturated with water droplets they darken. In fact the whole sky darkens. Once the cumulonimbus clouds reach the tropopause and form an anvil top lightning starts to strike at the ground. This is when you start hearing the thunder(basically a sonic boom from the lightning) and seeing the lightning. The water droplets are almost at the critical size of raindrops at this point. Several minutes later and it starts raining. There can be times of no rain in the middle of a thunderstorm, especially during the summer when it is hot.

    But often my predictions were wrong because there was no rain at all(I knew that from the ground being dry the next day).

    If I write a story where someone has to know when there is going to be a thunderstorm or any kind of storm for that matter because the person only has a wife and is just starting a civilization, how will that person be able to accurately predict when there is going to be a storm of some sort if I know the signs of a storm and yet when I predict that there is going to be a storm,often there isn't one?
  2. thecoldembrace

    thecoldembrace Sage

    Its hard to predict storms or any type of weather really unless you can see and observe the changing patterns in the atmosphere. Even with our new age, fancy technology we often can't predict storms, and even if we know we have one coming, we don't often know the severity it will be at.

    So unless your character can feel and observe the change better than a normal human then accurate prediction is out the window. You might want to have him/her have the ability to sense the changes in the atmosphere like some animals do, and this might give warning a few hours ahead, but definitely not days.

  3. MineOwnKing

    MineOwnKing Maester

    This actually happened to me last week.

    Severe lightning and thunder preceded a blast of sideways sleet.

    I had the misfortune of being stuck in it, running to my vehicle and driving in a white out.

    It's the first time I've ever witnessed it.

    Not sure how to predict it.

  4. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    Are you looking for a scientific justification or a magical one. Cuz the latter is easy. The former, without tech, is pretty much impossible.
  5. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

    Smell. The few really bad thunderstorms I've been in, I've smelled/felt something metallic in the air for hours before. The charged air can leave you feeling tingly [hairs on the back of the neck].
    If the storm is coming from a particular direction there may be scents on the air with the incoming winds. I have heard that parts of the south of France storms smell of Lavender as the storms come up from the Lavender grown region.
    I was unlucky enough to be walking with friends as a thunderstorm came in off the sea and we stood an watched in wonder at how fast the clouds seemed to "boil", roll and grow. It looked a special effect from Twister. And then the lightning started and we realised that standing on a top of a hill was maybe not the place to be and ran for the nearest shelter.
  6. Addison

    Addison Auror

    I've lived in several places, suburbs, city, country and mountains. I've seen thunderstorms, blizzards, flash floods, borderline hurricanes. Every location of such weather is different but they each have similarities, ones you can use if the story setting fits.

    Wild life is a big tell. Birds, rodents, domestic animals. From what I've seen some animals will react differently based on the storm. Extreme winds the birds will suddenly disappear. Big storms, domestic animals will either become nervous (curled up shivering, pawing a comfy spot in the sofa) or prepared, even protective. (Curl up near their food, take their place on the sofa and not budge, or follow you around the house and even anxious when you try to leave. If the storm is really severe they will bark and howl, possibly try to run.)

    By setting itself the tells are different, and depending on how long you've lived in that area you instinctively know when to pull your hood up or close your shutters. It could be something you feel, the humidity, a chill, a sharpness in the air. Or it could be something you taste. I know when it's going to snow when I can both feel the chill and taste it on the back of my tongue.

    I can't really see a storm. Clouds and such are feints and foreshadows, kinda "red sky in morning" things. Dark clouds are one thing, if I see dark clouds and feel the sticky humidity in the air, then I know rain is coming. If it's more humidity than dark clouds then it's either a sprinkle or we're just on the edge of a storm's area.

    Every location has its own tells. Everyone has their own instincts and alerts to tell them what's coming. So really look at the setting and see if your character is a long time native of the setting or just arrived. That could determine how your character can tell and react to a storm.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2015
  7. caters

    caters Sage

    Yeah and the longer my character has been here not only is my character more likely to know that a storm is coming but also what kind of storm is coming(whether it is just heavy rain, snowstorm, blizzard, tornado, thunderstorm, thundersnow(Very rare because usually lightning melts all the snow that is produced and you get freezing rain or sleet depending on air and ground temperatures), or whatever kind of storm it is)
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