Colorful names of regional weather phenomena

Upon looking up Alberta clippers (no, they’re not sailing vessels though perhaps the name was inspired by speeds associated with them), the terms Manitoba Mauler and Saskatchewan Screamer came up. Great descriptive names!

What other colorful weather events have you heard or read? “Nor’easter” doesn’t count…no pizazz to it like Saskatchewan Screamer. High winds really do sound like screaming sometimes.

We get the Polar Express in CO, but that still doesn’t really describe the phenomenon. Neither does Pineapple Express.

Some years back I experienced my first derecho. Early one morning before the sun came up I heard the wind just build up… faster and louder. No lightning and no rain. Just this strange wind event. I think we were without power for a couple of days. The following weekend I went biking up in the mountains of Virginia 75 to 100 miles north. They were a mess! Widespread tree damage and power out. Beware the derecho. Maybe it was this storm:

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I was thinking of more descriptive local events. Derecho offers no clue as to where it happens or what it is, though it is still an awesome, maybe scary thing like many sudden weather changes.

Made up a few terms myself:

For haboobs in the USA: Sonoran Sandblast or Mojave Muffler
For giant hailstones in the central plains: Kansas Cannonballs

South Georgia and South Carolina have “frog strangler” rain storms.

Lake effect snow and snowbelts.

I just saw that term for the first time two days ago and thought it was apt. Could also be a Duck Drowner. Neither reveals the region but they are descriptive.

When I lived in Tennessee and it started to rain while the sun was shining brightly, it was common for people to look up and say “the devil is beating his wife”.

I assume this was not unique to Tennessee but I had not heard that expression before I moved there, and have not heard it since.

Does anyone know how this saying came to be?

Actually those are toad stranglers. Frogs live in the water. Bufo terrestris ( southern toads ) , not so much.
Once in awhile, a degree in Biology is good for not much.

Really has to rain a lot to drown a frog. More than a toad.

Heavens Know Weather She’ll Blow Her Cover

It’s stranglin’ the toads in the ditches.
In the shed it rains cats and dogs.
All hail has broke loose
cloud of flies smothered moose,
pea soup’s been feedin’ the fog.

She’s sailin’ the Alberta Clipper.
Derecho cuts in like a knife.
With Manitoba to maul
that’s one angry squaw,
must be devil now beatin’ his wife.

Alpha beta disorder their hurricane,
for it’s twistered the girl-boy in knots.
El Nino due soon
oscillates in typhoon,
till a chill puts La Nina on spot.

So weather she’s globally warming,
or climatically into sea change,
Earth spins us hacks dizzy,
all aboard ‘n with Lizzy.
Meteors havin’ logic? That’s strange.

We had one of those 3 days ago. Almost drowned our house.

Found this:


Several cultures now ascribed this phenomenon to folkloric tales featuring clever animals or tricksters being related or getting married to the devil. For instance, in the Southern United States and Hungary, when they experience a sun shower, they say “the devil is beating his wife with a walking stick”, while the French would say “the devil is beating his wife and marrying his daughter.”

The illustration of the idiomatic phrase can be explained as that of the devil spitting the fire of hell (the sun rays) and his wife’s tears (the rain).

The first recorded use of this phrase was in 1703 in a French play, “to go and thrash him round the church-yard, as the devil does his wife in rainy weather when the sun shines.” Then years later, a writer Jonathan Swift used it in 1738:

" the devil was beating his wife behind the door with a shoulder of mutton."

Another version was recorded in 1893 in Inwards’ Weather Lore:

"if it rains while the sun is shining the devil is beating his grandmother .

Getting beaten with a shoulder of mutton? :flushed:

Maybe the mutton needed tenderizing ?
My mother , being southern , said when the sun is shining during the rain the devil was beating his wife with a frying pan.

Back in my MN days we all feared the Polar Vortex that would bring arctic air down and plunge temps well below 0 for days at a time.

In my days out east the folks freaked out every time we’d get a winter Nor’Easter. I’ve never seen empty grocery store shelves until my first nor’easter. What the heck is the big deal? they really needed to empty the store of meat, milk, bread and eggs? Dont you have 3 days of food in your house anyways? apparently not.

Now out in California, we have the Santa Ana winds that infamously fuel raging wild fires in the summer and fall. The uber dry air blows west off the inland desert with dewpoints often in the single digits (and ive even seen negative dew points with air temps in the 80’s! Thats freaking dry! during the santa ana’s, my 3mm wetsuit will dry out in about 3 hours)

When we lived in the Front Range foothills, the similar chinooks were both blessing and curse. As you found out, wet neoprene only needed an afternoon to dry out. That’s IF the hung clothing didn’t get flown away by 70 mph blasts! Fire hazard to an extreme, at least when forests and brush were already too dry.

If the chinooks were predicted for winter, sometimes they provided a delightful break from cold and snow. The snow would actually sublimate, something I never saw back east. Things could get very strange, like the times I began shoveling snow after a chinook had passed, and the soil under the snow was dusty. Not muddy, icy, or even slightly damp. The cover went from porous snow straight to dust.

When I had figured out our typical sequence of fronts, the fun started, Between a superwindy chinook blasting through and the ensuing frigid cold and snow of the cold front likely to come, there was anywhere between a half day and two days of still-warm air and little wind. The trick lay in predicting just how long that glorious window of paddling weather would last. That’s when friends and I would say, “Let’s grab a good day at Pueblo Reservoir!” which was the only one that we could almost always count on to be mostly open water.

We don’t get chinooks in this corner of CO. There are mountains, for sure. They just don’t form the long, long line of nearly continuous high elevation that is like an obstacle wall for inbound winds from the PNW. The weather created by the Front Range will always fascinate me.

Remember the movie set in Australia in which Richard Gere saw frogs raining down?*****

No joke. It can rain frogs, fish, squid, and probably other small critters. Here is an explanation of how it happens:

*****Hah, the star was Richard Chamberlin, not Gere, and the movie was The Last Wave (1977).

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Arctic sea smoke.
Why are storms named? Mabel? LOL… the locals call it a storm.
Nor’Easters can be bad. When they bring warm water off the ocean and finish as an ice storm… Three weeks without power. But we in Maine know that snow cleans your tush and the lake is a source of water and fish and the local cows supply milk and most of us bake bread as it is a LOONG way to the grocery store ( sometimes an hour each way)
Now in this day and age stockpiling may make sense. You see we had one day with NO internet. This caused businesses to close doors. There was a minor ice storm that was a convenient blame per Spectrum aka rectrum
A few a very few stores still have brass cash registers and a cashier that can do arithmetic.

Since my wife discovered Costco, I think we’re good for a couple of weeks if the water stays on.

Sometimes we get lake enhanced snow which apparently is somewhere between lake effect snow and regular snow.

Storming in this week at the Orphanbeum! Album release party for Scirroco Zephyr and the Katabatic Cats! Featuring their soon-to-be majorly-destructive hit, “Derecho Left Town Blew My Mind.” Opening acts, Toots and the Maytals (playing their big hit, “Pressure Drop”), followed by Christopher Crossed-up and the Sailing No-More Capsized!

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