Storms are not only dangerous, but they can be very unpredictable. The atmospheric disturbance, often accompanied by snow, rain, and heavy winds, occurs in nearly all parts of the world. When a storm is accompanied by thunder, it is known as a thunderstorm. That said, do you know why various storms are given human names? How did people predict such natural calamities, yet there wasn’t state-of-the-art meteorological equipment, as is the case today? Continue reading to find answers to these and more questions about storms.

1. King Xerxes Whipped the Sea After a Storm Destroyed His Bridge

In 480 BC, King Xerxes built a pontoon bridge to help his army get into Greece. However, before they could cross, the bridge was destroyed by a heavy storm. King Xerxes was so mad that he ordered his soldiers to whip the sea 300 times and poke it with flaming hot irons. He also had his men throw handcuffs into the ocean to exert dominance. Unfortunately, the bridge’s engineers suffered a fate worse than the sea because they were all executed.

2. Japan was Saved from the Mongols Twice by Heavy Storms

During the 1200s, Japan was under severe attack by the Mongol fleets. Fortunately for them, two storms in 1274 and 1281 saved the country from being taken over. The storms, later named Kamikaze, meaning divine wind, destroyed and altered the courses of Mongol ships.

3. Leeches Were Used to Predict Storms

In 1850, a device called the Tempest Prognosticator, a carousel that housed leeches in glass bottles was invented by George Merryweather. If a leech climbed up and escaped the bottle, the device would ring, indicating a storm was coming. This invention was based on the fact that leeches can naturally sense a drop in air pressure. Even so, the device was still unreliable.

4. In 2017, an Adult Site Offered to Clear Boston Roads after Storm Stella

During the infamous Storm Stella that left roads in Boston covered in snow, a popular adult content website took the initiative to clear the streets. The website’s representatives had two branded trucks that would clear snow all over the roads and parking lots in Boston and New Jersey.

5. Storms are Named by the Metrological Office and Weather Channels

The local metrological office and weather channels are usually responsible for coming up with the names that storms usually have. In regions like the US and the UK, there is typically a shortlist of male and female names, with the majority of the storms named on a rotation basis. Weather experts believe that naming these natural calamities makes it easier for the public to follow and stay updated.

6. There is a Never-Ending Storm in Venezuela

In Venezuela, there is a never-ending storm that lasts for about 300 nights every year. It occurs where the Catatumbo River flows into the Lake Maracaibo. Here, the warm air from the Caribbean meets cool air flowing from the mountains, creating the ideal recipe for a storm. It’s natively referred to as the Relampago del Catatumbo.

7. The Deadliest Storm Happened in Bangladesh

The Bhola Cyclone was the deadliest storm to ever hit the world. It happened in Bangladesh in 1970, killing at least 300,000 people.

8. Artist JMW Turner was Tied to a Ship’s Mast During a Storm for Inspiration

When coming up with the painting “Snow Storm: Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth” in 1842, Turner asked sailors to tie him to the ship’s mast during a storm. He wanted first-hand experience of what happens during a storm and didn’t think he would make it.

9. Storm Ida Helped with Rat Infestation in New York City

white mouse on brown cardboard box

Even though there was no accurate number of rats living in New York sewer lines, experts believe that Hurricane Ida helped reduce the population of the rodents. The aftermath of the event saw thousands of rat carcasses washed ashore. In their explanation, the unpredictable nature of storms makes it hard for rats to run for safety, so they end up drowning in the sewer lines.

10. Most People Rush to Buy Bread and Milk Before a Storm

Researchers have discovered that people mainly stock up on bread and milk before a storm. This is quite interesting, considering how perishable milk and bread are. Ideally, scrambling for survival gear might be a better option, but that’s not often the case.

11. A Paraglider was Sucked into a Storm to an Altitude Higher than Mt. Everest and Survived

Ewa Wisnierska, a German paraglider, was sucked into a storm to an altitude of up to 9947 meters, which is higher than the highest mountain, Mt. Everest. She was unconscious, covered in ice, and flew for about an hour. Ewa survived this tragedy, fascinatingly, because she was not responsive the entire time.

12. A Storm in Texas Once Came with Hailstones the Size of Softballs

During a storm in Texas in 1995, the locals were surprised when they saw hailstones the size of softballs dropping from the sky. The hailstones were traveling at a speed of 70 mph, and due to their vast size, they caused 15 fatalities and injured hundreds of Texans. The hailstones broke car and house windows and blocked many roads for hours.

13. Other Planets Also Experience Storms

Apparently, other planets also experience storms. The only difference is that the nature of storms varies depending on atmospheric pressure, rotation rates, and temperatures. For instance, Mars experiences several dust storms, while Saturn has been named a storm chasers paradise by astronauts. There are also many polar storms in Uranus.

14. There is a Storm Phobia

The fear of storms is called astraphobia. Victims often feel anxious whenever a storm is approaching. In worse cases, the anxiety may be accompanied by other symptoms such as rapid breathing and panic attacks. Astraphobia is a manageable condition, and it mainly affects children than adults.

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Last Update: February 23, 2024