The Calm Before the Storm

The phrase “the calm before the storm” means to me; the surreal anticipation that is the precursor of the chaos to follow. It is the drastic difference in atmosphere that is divided by the stillness and calm and adverse, unpredictable weather to follow. We all have sat down on a porch or somewhere that is sheltered but also exposed enough so that the storm wont inflict damage but can still be felt. I remember sitting on my grandparents porch on Tyler Lake numerous times, watching as the clouds roll by. I know the feeling where the temperature increases and will sit still at a certain point until the storm has closed in enough so that the the temperature that can be felt on my skin can tell me what that the storm is coming. If I was blind my hearing and feeling would be able to tell me that inclement weather was approaching. Here is the scientific explanation for the phenomenon of barometric pressure increase and decrease that humans can physically sense from weather.

How much does gaseous water weigh? Not LIQUID water – I mean steam or vapor. Let’s figure it out. The chemical formula for water is H2O. One oxygen atom (atomic weight 16) and two hydrogen atoms (atomic weight 1). The total weight of the molecule is 18. Now how much does 22.4 liters (of the gas) weigh? 18 grams. One liter weighs 18/22.4 grams or 0.8 grams.

Now we’re getting close. You can see that air normally weighs 1.286 grams per liter (this is the “calm” mass of air before the storm) but, if we substitute water for some of the air, the mixture becomes lighter. So, if there’s water (otherwise known as humidity) in the air, the air mixure becomes LIGHTER – and it doesn’t push down so hard on the mercury and the barometer’s lower.    Here is the link I give credit to for this information. http://kids.earth.nasa.gov/archive/air_pressure/weather.htm

So that information relates to the calm and chaos that normally happens in a summer time, thunder storm. The air gets humid and you can feel the temperature of the moisture in the air change right before the storm hits. I find it amazing how humans can sense the “calm before the storm” and then the change of surroundings and atmosphere when a storm arrives.

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1 Comment

  1. ok..I learned something new because of you! Also, the idea of the calm before the storm…particularly with all the storms we are having…is a good way to view this word.

    Reply

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