Weather and the Ocean of Air

By William Holmes Wenstrom | Go to book overview

Chapter XIII
THOR'S SYMPHONY--THUNDERSTORMS AND LINE SQUALLS

Thor's Approach -- Where and When Thunderstorms Occur --
Formation of a Thunderstorm -- Thor's Hammer -- Lightning
Hazards -- Downblast and Deluge -- The Wings of the Storm --
Flying Through a Line Squall

'. . . His chariots of wrath
The deep thunderclouds form
And dark is His path
On the wings of the storm. . . .'

PEOPLE vary greatly in their reactions to thunderstorms. Some few take to feather beds in the fear that Thor will personally seek them out for punishment and destruction (though a feather bed actually avails against a lightning bolt about as effectively as a garden gate stops a railroad train). Other people, perhaps equally foolish, rush to hilltops in the fond faith that Divine Providence will somehow ward any wandering electric bolt away from their exposed heads. Actually a thunderstorm is a beautiful and gigantic experiment in physical science, doubly interesting to those who know something of its causes and its mechanism, wildly beautiful to all men conscious of beauty in Nature.

On what earthly mountains does a sunset glow compare with its pure rose radiance on the white cloud-cliffs of a towering and detached thunderstorm? What ground outlook compares with the spectacle of a distant towering cumulus in the clear night sky, flickeringly lit and veined by an infinite and never-ceasing variety of soundless lightnings? A great, wide-spreading, fast-

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