METEOROLOGIST JEFF HABY
This series of Hints will examine moods that can be created by the weather. These moods will include happy, gloomy, on edge, hopeful,
The first emotion that will be examined is happy. A
happy mood can be described as showing pleasure, feeling cheerful, feeling optimistic and feeling things are fitting and going well. While
any type of weather can bring out any particular emotion in any one person, this writing looks at generalizations of mood the weather
A feeling of happiness can be created by weather outside that is mild/warm in temperature, sunny, with just a light breeze. This is
especially true if the weather is nicer than it typically is for a given time of year. For example, several clouds days with temperatures
in the 30s and 40s following by a couple of days with sunny weather and temperatures near 70. The shift in the weather to warmer
and sunnier conditions can promote a feeling of happiness and extra energy.
The light from the sun can make a person feel more awake. This shift to feeling more awake with more energy can bring out happy feelings.
The sun is out longer in the warm half of the year, temperatures are warmer, and in many places there is less cloud cover to
block the sun. The extra sunshine in late spring, summer and early fall can spark extra energy.
People can be more active when the weather is nice (working out, shopping, eating out). Being out and doing things outside of the
home can bring out happy feelings in many people. Stores especially love weekends that have mild, nice, sunny weather. Sales and
tips are often higher when people feel happier.
A gloomy mood can be described as showing displeasure, feeling melancholy, feeling pessimistic, and feeling things are not going well.
Gloomy is a word that is both used to describe the weather and a human emotion. Characteristics of gloomy weather include partial darkness,
dampness, thick cloud cover, and rainy. Other characteristics can include cold cloudy weather, hours of persistent precipitation, hours
of foggy conditions, day after day of below freezing temperatures, persistent icy conditions, weather that cancels outdoor plans, and
many hours or days without sunshine.
The darkness created by the weather and the inconveniences from weather events such as rain, snow, fog, clouds and short winter days
can create feelings of sluggishness. This weather can cause more people to have to stay indoors. There is no sunshine to spark feelings
of energy and warmth.
People can be more pessimistic and less active when the weather is gloomy (doing less, staying home more). Boredom can set in when there
is less ability to enjoy outdoor activities due to glum weather.
“On edge” can be described as a feeling of nervousness, anticipation, tenseness, irrational excitement, irritability, somewhat upset, anxiousness,
somewhat afraid, and protective.
The on edge emotion can be brought on by the threat of the negative influences from a storm or storm system. Examples include
a risk of severe thunderstorms later in the day, an approaching winter storm that is expected to bring ice and snow, an approaching
hurricane, and the passage of a cold front that is expected to bring in bitter cold air. These feelings can send people into
actions of preparation that will help them to be ready for the storm. It can create a mood of not being able to concentrate as well
on their normal routine, having elevated emotions, and of wanting the latest information.
One of the most famous examples of people’s actions when feeling on edge is buying groceries before the approach of a major
winter storm (winter storm watch / winter storm warning) in a location that sees winter storm weather infrequently. This is
especially true for essentials such as bread. Another example is the buying in the preparation that is done with the approach
of a tropical storm or hurricane (hurricane watch / hurricane warning). Supplies such as generators and wood panels are sold
quickly. A third example is the preparation for a river flood. Protecting the home and property with sand bags is initiated.
Variations of this “on edge” emotion can also occur when there is:
1) a threat for severe thunderstorms (watches / warnings)
2) any big change in the weather
3) winter weather precipitation (especially the first winter weather precipitation of the year)
4) the viewing of a big storm outside, seeing nearby severe weather damage on TV
5) a strong/severe storm occurring, hail occurring
6) heavy snow/freezing rain/ or ice pellets occurring
7) a flash flood watch/warning, heavy rain occurring
8) a rapidly changing air pressure (low pressure approaching)
9) when lightning strikes nearby
10) threat of a big weather change in extended forecast
Hopeful can be described as a feeling of optimism,
admiration, that things are turning the corner, better times are ahead and peacefulness.
A hopeful mood can be produced when the weather changes to weather that is liked by a particular person. For many people this can be
warmer weather, sunnier weather and/or tranquil weather. With weather not being a hindrance to enjoying certain things, there can
be feelings that things are getting better. Examples include the melting away of ice and snow on a much warmer and sunny day,
several days of clouds and rain followed by sunshine, winds finally calming down after a wind storm, and temperatures that are
warm in the winter.
A famous example of a weather phenomenon that can bring about feelings of hopefulness is the sight of a rainbow. The vivid colors
in the sky, especially contrasting to a dull gray rainy sky, can bring about feelings of awe and wonder. It can also bring back
biblical memories for some people of God’s promise to Noah to not destroy the Earth with a flood again. It can bring memories to some
people of the story that there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The vivid colors show
all the power that visible light can produce. The rainbow sight can bring feelings of calm, peace, serenity and tranquility. The sight
of the double rainbow adds even more to the feeling of awe.
Another way weather can bring about feelings of hopefulness is when a storm is not a destructive as it could have been. A hurricane
weakening rapidly out at sea, a severe storm falling apart, a snow/ice storm not materializing and a storm that does not produce
as much damage or loss of life as it could have are examples of hopefulness that can be felt during and after the event. It is the feeling
that things are going to be okay and things are turning around for the better.
Frustration can be described as a feeling of being
uncomfortable, having a short fuse, insecurity, dissatisfaction and unfulfillment.
Frustration can occur when the temperature is too hot or too cold. Days that are over 100 F or temperatures over 90 F with high
humidity can lead to feelings of discomfort. This can make it more difficult in dealing with everyday tasks such as getting inside
a roasting hot car and doing work outside. Just walking outside can cause you to sweat. Temperatures that are very cold such as
below freezing can also bring out feelings of frustration. Having to warm up the car, scrape ice off the car, drive slowly
and traffic problems can add to daily stress and this increases frustration.
Weather that is unwanted can lead to feelings of frustration. One example is rain on a day when there are outdoor plans. Another
example is very high winds when trying to do outside activities. If there is a drought, frustration can be felt from there not
being enough rain. Any type of damage or altering of routine produced by the weather can lead to feeling frustrated.