Meteorologists, Thunderstorms, and Winds – How to Use Them in Your Writing

A thunderstorm produces heavy rain and it accompanied by thunder and lightning. At times, it also produces hail and heavy, damaging winds.

thunderstorm, wikimedia commons

They are a force of nature, and when conditions are right, they unleash their fury. Unstable air or air that is heavy with water—wind will pick up water from the ground or a body of water—rises into the sky. Sometimes another blast of wind pushes this air high up into the sky. Other times this wind blows into a mountain, and the mountain pushes the wind up. Are you beginning to see how this can be used in your writing?

The rumble of thunder in the sky could be used as a warning that something bad is about to happen. Even if the day is sunny and clear, a rumble of thunder speaks of an approaching storm. Not only would it speak of an approaching storm, but it could also speak of a coming storm in the life of your characters. In a story I just wrote, thunder on a bright winter’s day was used as a sign that something not quite right is going on.

The moment I climbed into our red Buick, the sky turned dark and the distant rumbling of thunder could be heard. A few drops of rain splattered on the windshield. Daddy grunted in frustration as he buckled himself into the car. “That’s all we need today. Rain.” Then he started the car, and we took off.
From Softy and Tenderly by Lisa Binion

It would get old always saying thunderstorm, so this is where the thesaurus comes in handy. You could also call a thunderstorm a thundershower, thunder squall, thunder-boomer, cloudburst, electrical storm, or snunderstorm. You won’t find snunderstorm in any dictionary or thesaurus. A snumderstorm is a thunderstorm that occurs when it is snowing. Why won’t you find it in a dictionary? My son is the one who came up with that name when we witnessed a snunderstorm at our house.

The cumulonimbus cloud that produces a thundershower is also called a thunderhead.

The North American Indians thought that a thunderstorm was caused by a thunderbird, an enormous winged bird. Its voice was believed to be the thunder and its eyes were said to be responsible for flashes of lightning. There are many different Indian legends surrounding this humongous bird.

lightning, oompa123.deviantart.com

Lightning
What is lightning? According to the dictionary, lightning is a flash of light in the sky, occurring during a thunderstorm and caused by a discharge of electricity, either between clouds or between a cloud and the earth.

Cloud-to-ground lightning is what most of us are used to seeing, but there is also ground-to-cloud lightning.

Ball lightning is a rare form of lightning. It is a ball of lightning that moves rapidly from object to object or it simply floats in the air. It is also called globe lightning.

Chain lightning moves quickly in wavy or zigzag lines. The intensity varies along the lines of bead lightning or pearl lightning, so it may resemble a string of beads or pearls.

Heat lightning usually occurs on hot summer nights. It may or may not be a sign that a storm may be approaching, but if one is, the lightning is so far ahead of the storm that the thunder cannot be heard.

A flash of lightning used to light up a dark night when someone is being chased through the woods by a killer should allow just enough light so the one being chased can see who is after him. Maybe it shows a way of escape. Or it could show the eerie surroundings. Or the surroundings could be perfectly innocent looking and the evil hidden. This would give a false sense of security.

Meteorologists
Has your book ever been rained upon by a shower of meteorologists?

When most people think of a meteorologist, they think of a weather forecaster. There is a branch of meteorology that deals with weather forecasting, but there are many types of meteorologists and not all of them forecast the weather.

Meteorology is the science that deals with the phenomena of the atmosphere, especially weather and weather conditions. A broadcast meteorologist interprets and reports the weather for television.

National Weather Service logo, wikimedia commons

A research meteorologist would probably work for the National Weather Service, NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency, or the military.

A forensic meteorologist would investigate claims would investigate claims for insurance companies or research claims concerning past weather for insurance companies or courts of law.

Then there are climate meteorologists. These guys check out and study long-term weather patterns so that they will be able to predict future ones better.

Those are only a few of the branches of meteorology that exist. No matter what kinds of meteorologists are around though, a group of them would be called a shower of meteorologists. I think the name fits rather well. What about you?

Wind
Has a break of winds has blown away the pages of your manuscript that took you years to write?

Wind is the natural movement of the wind as it blows from one place to another. Each type of air movement has a different name, but a group of them would be known as a break of winds.

A derecho is a windstorm that is at least 280 miles long. It can be anywhere from 50 miles wide to 300 miles wide. Capable of causing widespread damage, they are usually associated with a fast-moving band of thunderstorms and occur mostly during the summer.

Trade winds are simply air movements towards the equator.

Sea breezes are air movements along the coast that occur because of the temperature differences between the land and the sea. Land breezes happen during the night when the land cools faster than the sea.

girl writing, etc.usf.edu

Writing Prompts
You don’t want to always use thunderstorms as a sign of impending doom, but once in a while, they are great to use. Thunderstorms are only one of the many ways to signal something bad is going to happen.

It isn’t necessary that you use a literal thunderstorm in your writing. The events in your story could also burst into a thunderstorm. Rumors and lies could be the moisture that fills the clouds. Unstable situations that are growing in intensity could meet stable masses of truth that will not be moved, or these unstable situations could run into another set of unstable situations. This causes the unstable situations to grow only more unstable until the lies and rumors are found out and everything explodes.

Write a story that has a thunderstorm in it. How it is used is totally up to you. You could use the storm as foreshadowing a horrendous event, or you could have a humorous story where a violent thunderstorm breaks loose during an outdoor summer wedding.

coffee and writing, flickr

A meteorologist could save a town from an impending weather disaster. Or the meteorologist could be a bad person. What if he is in the process of discovering how to control the weather? What if he wants to be able to destroy any place that displeases him?

There are many other types of wind, and I’m sure they are all interesting and have possibilities for stories. You could create a character who passionately has a desire to learn about all the different types of wind. What started as a school project for him has now turned into an obsession. He relates a different type of wind to almost every situation in his life.

Write a story where each of the characters is a different type of wind, and they have a contest to see which one can blow the strongest.

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