www.whyville.net Sep 12, 2002 Weekly Issue

It's Raining Theories

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It's Raining Theories

Times Writer

"It's raining! It's pouring! The old man is snoring! Jumped out of bed and bumped his head and couldn't get up in the morning!" We've all heard it, right? If you haven't (I'll be surprised), it's a nursery rhyme from way back when about rain. And I guess by now you should be catching on that today's subject is rain.

Lately, in my area, we have had a couple of really hot days, and then a day of rain. And it'll just keeping going like this. So I decided that, seeing as today was a rainy day, I had a good topic. And I found out some really interesting stuff! (This won't be as boring as you think.)

Rain is a part of the science of meteorology, or the study of weather. For some people, rain is just another way to get wet. For other people, it is connected to godly powers and superstitions. Some older people claim they can smell it, before it rains, or their joints begin to ache. Most people have probably heard the expression that leaves will turn over to "catch" the rain.

Most people believe that raindrops are heavier near the bottom, getting skinner near the top, and ending in a point. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but that's not true! Smaller drops of rain are often in a circular form, and bigger drops tend to be elongated.

When people say they can smell rain, they do smell something. But is it rain? Ever tried to smell the rain in January when the ground is frozen solid? It isn't possible. If the humidity in the ground goes above 75%, plants will start to release oils that mix with other earthy smells. Moist air will make it easier to smell this.

So what do the two have to do with each other? Well, have you ever noticed that oftentimes before a big storm it feels kind of muggy in the air? That's the moisture that we often associate with rain.

And what about leaves turning upside down to trap the rain? Well, this really does happen, but there is a scientific explanation. Most of the time, the wind in a certain area will come from pretty much the same direction, although this may change with the seasons. These are called "prevailing winds". When there is a change in the weather direction, the leaves are affected. This causes them to turn upside down. Often, just like humidity, a change in wind direction often happens right before a storm or before rainfall.

And what about the elderly having aching joints? Well, doctors can't exactly agree on this. As of right now, most are fine with the theory that right before rainfall, the air pressure changes. It makes sense that this could cause a little extra pain in what are already problem areas. Ah, the joys of being an old person, hey?

So what do you guys think? Never look at rain the same way again. There's a lot to it. Don't believe me? Well, I'm planning on writing another article about it soon. You're not going to believe what I've learned.

This is Giggler, being eaten by mosquitoes and deciding that Pinelope is right when she says Pepsi Twist tastes like soap. I hope my mom won't mind me spitting in the sink...


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