Spring Has Sprung:
Spring is finally here and the cherry blossoms have come and gone. As we head into the warmer months, we can expect to see a big change in the weather!
Lets have a look at some of the weather phenomenon that we may come across as summer approaches!
Hay-fever is a well known phenomenon around the world. It is an allergic reaction, usually in the upper respiratory system, that makes people sneeze, cough and experience runny eyes. It’s not a pleasant feeling at all and many people say it feels like their head is stuffed with cotton wool!
The name Hay-fever comes from a commonly held belief in the 19th century that the reaction was caused by the smell of fresh cut hay(dry grass).
Yellow sand is the English name given to the phenomenon of yellow desert sands being picked up by strong winds and taken high into the atmosphere. Once up in the stratosphere it gets carried great distances by wind currents, known as jet streams. For example, sand from the Sahara desert in Africa often lands on the Amazon rainforest, all the way on the other side of the world!
While this phenomenon can be uncomfortable for humans, causing breathing problems and skin sensitivity, its actually a very important process. Within this sand is a bounty of nitrates and phosphenes, which are perfect for nourishing plants!
You may have heard the term Spring (or April) Showers before. It’s common knowledge that in the month of April we have an increase in rain, especially shorter, strong downpours. Everyone’s experienced them but do you know why they happen?
It’s quite complex, but basically, a band of very strong winds that encircle the globe, known as a jet stream (remember the Yellow sand?),move northwards.This shift changes the air pressure and leads to an explosion of cumulus clouds. These are the clouds that create rain showers.
4.It’s Raining Cats and Dogs:
Have you heard this expression before? It’s a very famous and well known idiom. For example you might say “I can’t go for a walk today, its raining cats and dogs!”
If you looked outside, you wouldn’t see literal cats and dogs falling to earth, so what does it mean?
Well, its a very old expression meaning that it’s raining very heavily! It sounds odd, and a bit cruel. It’s origin is a total mystery, we have various theories about it but no actual singular origin point. Some etymologists (people who study languages) believe it may come from Norse Mythology, medieval superstitions or the obsolete word catadupe (meaning waterfall).
Have you ever experienced rain and sunshine at the same time? It seems a bit magical and a little dream-like. For this reason, in English this rather beautiful phenomenon is called a Monkey’s Wedding! This phrase is a very common expression in South Africa.
The origin of this phrase is also somewhat unclear, but the most common belief is that it comes from the Portuguese expression ‘Casamento de rapôsa’ which means ‘ A Vixen’s wedding’ (a vixen is a female fox).
One local tribe in South Africa, the Zulus, have a similar expression; ‘Umshado wezinkawu’ which literally translates as ‘a wedding for monkeys’!
No one is sure when it entered the vernacular (commonly spoken language) but its been a popular phrase for at least 300 years!
I hope you could learn a thing or two about common expressions used in the spring and early summer, and hope to see you in our next blog posting!
Don’t forget your umbrellas!