A storm is any disturbed state of an astronomical body's atmosphere, especially affecting its surface, and strongly implying severe weather. It may be marked by strong wind, thunder and lightning (a thunderstorm), heavy precipitation, such as ice (ice storm), or wind transporting some substance through the atmosphere (as in a dust storm, snowstorm, hailstorm, etc).
Storms are created when a center of low pressure develops, with a system of high pressure surrounding it. This combination of opposing forces can create winds and result in the formation of storm clouds, such as the cumulonimbus. Small, localized areas of low pressure can form from hot air rising off hot ground, resulting in smaller disturbances such as dust devils and whirlwinds.
There are many varieties and names for storms.
A strict meteorological definition of a terrestrial storm is a wind measuring 10 or higher on the Beaufort scale, meaning a wind speed of 24.5 m/s (89 km/h, 55 mph) or more; however, popular usage is not so restrictive. Storms can last anywhere from 12 to 200 hours, depending on season and geography. The east and northeast storms are noted for the most frequent repeatability and duration, especially during the cold period. Big terrestrial storms alter the oceanographic conditions that in turn may affect food abundance and distribution: strong currents, strong tides, increased siltation, change in water temperatures, overturn in the water column, etc.
Storms are not unique to Earth; other planetary bodies with a sufficient atmosphere (gas giants in particular) also undergo stormy weather. A famous example is the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. Though technically a hurricane, it is larger than the earth and has been raging for at least 340 years, when it was observed by astronomer Galileo Galilei. Neptune also had its own lesser known Great Dark Spot.
In September 1994 Hubble telescope using Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 imaged the storms on Saturn, generated by upwelling of warmer air, similar to a terrestrial thunderhead. The east-west extent of the same-year storm was equal to the diameter of Earth. The storm was observed earlier in September 1990 and acquired the name Dragon Storm.
According to the Bible, a giant storm sent by God flooded the Earth. Noah and his family and the animals entered the Ark, and "the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened, and the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights." The flood covered even the highest mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet, and all creatures died; only Noah and those with him on the Ark were left alive.
William Shakespeare's play The Tempest (1611) was based on the following incident. Sir Thomas Gates, future governor of Virginia, was on his way to England from Jamestown, Virginia. On Saint James Day while between Cuba and the Bahamas a hurricane raged for nearly two days. Though one of the small vessels in the fleet sank to the bottom of the Florida Straits, seven of the remaining vessels reached Virginia within several days after the storm. The flagship of the fleet, known as Sea Adventure, disappeared and was presumed lost. A small bit of fortune befell the ship and her crew when they made landfall on Bermuda. The vessel was damaged on a surrounding coral reef, but all aboard survived for nearly a year on the island. The British colonists claimed the island and quickly settled Bermuda. In May 1610, they set forth for Jamestown, this time arriving at their destination.
The Romantic seascape painters J. M. W. Turner and Ivan Aivazovsky created some of the most lasting impressions of the sublime and stormy seas that are firmly imprinted on the popular mind. Turner's representations of powerful natural forces reinvented the traditional seascape during the first half of the nineteenth century. Upon his travels to Holland, he took note of the familiar large rolling waves of the English seashore transforming into the sharper, choppy waves of a Dutch storm. A characteristic example of Turner’s dramatic seascape is The Slave Ship of 1840. Aivazovsky left several thousand turbulent canvases in which he increasingly eliminated human figures and historical background to focus on such essential elements as light, sea, and sky. His grandiose Ninth Wave (1850) is an ode to human daring in the face of the elements.
Storms were also portrayed in several works of music. Examples are Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony (the fourth movement), Presto of the violin concerto RV 315 (Summer) from the Four Seasons by Vivaldi, and a scene in Act II of Rossini's opera The Barber of Seville.
Retail Therapy / Ideas: 23 Bright Ideas to Make the Outdoors a Truly Great Experience; Laura Davis Contemplates a Few Items to Keep You Cosy under Canvass
Jul 13, 2006; Byline: Laura Davis 01 BUDDING campers will love the Gelert Youth Adventure Kit, pounds 60, from John Lewis. It includes a...