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"He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever." – Chinese proverb.
I asked a lot of questions growing up; lucky for me my parents were both patient and very smart.
I've never stopped asking questions. I remember my first trip to the Maritimes more than 25 years ago. I drove here with a friend. We would eventually end up in Charlottetown, where a mutual friend was working at a local radio station. When we got off the ferry, I was intrigued by the magnificent potato fields. I had so many unanswered questions about potatoes that my friend drove up a long lane to a barn and pushed me out of the car and said: "we're not getting back on the road until you talk to a potato farmer." I did. He was lovely. I wish I could remember his name.
I digress, back to your questions.
This one came from Sylvie Theriault, one day late last month.
"I have a question for you Cindy. I live in Cole Harbour, N.S. I'm now often at home at noon and can hear the canon being fired all the way from Citadel Hill in Halifax. I notice that the more the sky is covered, like today, the sound of the noon canon is much louder. Am I imagining this? When I hear this ‘boom’ I look at the clock and it will show noon. Thanks for keeping us well informed and I enjoy your new format."
That's a great observation, Sylvie. Our ancestors also noticed this and were able to forecast the weather accordingly.
Grandma Says: "When sounds travel far and wide, a stormy day will betide." You can tell by the language that it's been around for a while.
Here's the science behind this saying.
Low, dense, rain clouds act as a barrier, causing sound waves to bounce back to earth and preventing them from escaping into the atmosphere above. This creates the illusion that everything is louder, and that noise travels further. That's why we seem to hear distant sounds, such as train whistles and ringing church bells, better as a storm approaches.
Sound can also travel farther on cold winter nights; a layer of cold air near the ground can get trapped by warm air above. This temperature inversion not only keeps the cold air down but also traps sound waves, keeping them close to the ground and allowing them to travel more horizontally and farther than normal.
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Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network