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10 Weather Words You Need To Know
amazing-weather-words
People talk about the weather all the time. It's a constant in our lives. That said, we present this list of 10 weather words we think you need to know. With all the amazing words available, we could focus just on ice and snow, but then we'd have to leave out haboob, and that just can't happen!
downburst
[doun-burst]
Whoosh! Do you feel that strong downward current of air? Notice that it's coming from a cumulonimbus cloud? Well, that's a downburst, and it's often associated with intense thunderstorms. It's not a tornado, but downbursts are powerful enough where they can produce effects that resemble a tornado's presence.
frazil
[frey-zuhl, fraz-uhl, fruh-zeel, -zil]
Frazil are "ice crystals formed in turbulent water, as in swift streams or rough seas." So much more exciting than just calling it ice-in-the-river!
haboob
[huh-boob]
An haboob is "a thick dust storm or sandstorm that blows in the deserts of North Africa and Arabia or on the plains of India." Their dust storm cousins also hit the United States—just ask anyone who lives in Phoenix.
crepuscular-ray
When you sit on the porch admiring the sunset, you might be looking at one of these. We define it as "a twilight ray of sunlight shining through breaks in high clouds and illuminating dust particles in the air."
williwaw
[wil-ee-waw]
If you're out adventuring and you see a williwaw headed your way, take cover. Dictionary.com cites this as "a violent squall that blows in near-polar latitudes, as in the Strait of Magellan, Alaska, and the Aleutian Islands." This may very well lead to what's known as a three-dog night.
sastruga
[sas-truh-guh, sah-struh-, sa-stroo-, sah-]
This word (sastrugi in the plural form) means "ridges of snow formed on a snowfield by the action of the wind." It's beautiful in an open field, and a different kind of awe inspiring in a parking lot you're supposed to plow.
petrichor
[pe-trahy-kawr, ‐ker]
You know how it smells outside after a rainstorm? There's a word for that, of course. Petrichor is the distinct scent of rain in the air. Or, to be more precise, it’s the name of an oil that’s released from the earth into the air before rain begins to fall.
darecho
This is another storm you want to avoid. AccuWeather says darecho "are often referred to as inland hurricanes due to the hurricane-like conditions, in terms of ferocious wind and torrential rain, which are spawned by this weather phenomenon."
gloriole
[glawr-ee-ohl, glohr-]
We define this as "a halo, nimbus, or aureole." When ice crystals are suspended in the atmosphere, this is what happens. Mental Floss says "this optical phenomenon causes a bright circle or rainbow around the sun or moon, 22 degrees away from the center of the object. To differentiate between a gloriole and the related 'corona' phenomenon (caused by water droplets, and much closer to the sun or moon), if you put your palm over the sun and extend your fingers, they should reach about 20 degrees from the center." Where's Bill Nye the Science Guy when you need him, anyway?
bombogenesis
People head to the stores to stock up on bread and milk for this one, and the news stations offer "team coverage." Weatherdudes.com says "when a low pressure system or mid-latitude cyclone moves off of the East Coast of the United States during the colder months of the year, there is a tendency for many of them to intensify rapidly due to the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream and the positioning of the low between two very different air masses. [...] The storm's rapid intensification is known as bombogenesis."