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Soothing Snow
08-31-2010, 08:55 AM
What are some signs that it's going to rain? What would it smell like? Can mist become thicker if it's about to rain?


I was wondering because I want to give a hint to how strong my MCs senses are. Thanks!


~Snow

Canotila
08-31-2010, 09:10 AM
Where does your MC live? The type of environment makes a big difference. When we lived in Tucson you could smell the rain an hour or two before it started. A thick, cloying mesquite/creosote combo smell would fill the air. It was really strong.

Where we live in Washington now smells totally different, but still distinct when it's going to rain. It's more subtle though, maybe because it's always a bit humid here. You can smell waterfalls and rivers before you see them too. Most people can, they just don't pay as much attention to their noses as they do their eyes and ears.

Soothing Snow
08-31-2010, 11:30 AM
Where does your MC live? The type of environment makes a big difference. When we lived in Tucson you could smell the rain an hour or two before it started. A thick, cloying mesquite/creosote combo smell would fill the air. It was really strong.

Where we live in Washington now smells totally different, but still distinct when it's going to rain. It's more subtle though, maybe because it's always a bit humid here. You can smell waterfalls and rivers before you see them too. Most people can, they just don't pay as much attention to their noses as they do their eyes and ears.
My MC lives in a forest that is blanketed by a neverending mist. That's why I asked about the mist, because I want to know if the mist makes any difference.

Ya I live in Oregon, and you can pretty much tell when it's gonna rain:tongue.
Thanks!

~Snow

Rowan
08-31-2010, 02:22 PM
I think you could pretty much do whatever you want with the mist. For instance, if the ground is colder than air temp == fog. Maybe have the fog increase while the air "thickens" (humidity/moisture in the air)... then have some dew or something start to collect on the leaves, his/her skin, etc. It can all be very subtle if you're wanting your MC to be able to sense or pick up on gradual changes in the environment. Oh, and rain smells like wet earth (to me). Sorry can't be more descriptive--too early in the morning for my brain to work properly!

Cheers!

Interesting link: http://indianapublicmedia.org/amomentofscience/smells-rain/



If you’ve been outside before a rainfall in the spring, you might have noticed a particularly fresh or sweet smell that seeps into the air a few minutes before the first drops begin to fall. If you’re familiar with this smell, it’s a great way to predict when the rain is about to start. What, exactly, makes the air smell like rain?
A lot of stories and folk tales have arisen to explain this odor. Long ago, people used to believe that rain clouds picked up sweet smells from Heaven, and the rain carried these angelic odors to Earth. A more up-to-date–but equally incorrect–version of this folktale is that the smell comes from ozone, carried from the upper atmosphere by the falling rain.
In fact, that fresh smell isn’t coming down from the sky at all. It’s coming up, from the ground beneath your feet.
As a spring rain approaches, the humidity level at the ground tends to increase. Moist air is much better than dry air at transmitting smells–this is why you might use warm, steaming water to carry the smell from dried potpourri into the air of your house. As the humidity rises, the moist air carries the fresh smell of oils up to your nose. It also carries the odors of ground dwelling bacteria and fungi.
These smells are always in the air immediately above the ground, as you can test for yourself by sticking your nose into your lawn and breathing deeply. When a rainstorm approaches and the humidity climbs, the odor rises up from its earthly embrace and you say–It smells like rain!

RJK
08-31-2010, 05:53 PM
A rain forest would be different from where I live. When rain approaches the wind increases as the storm front moves in. It pushes the air in front of it away and up as the low pressure storm front moves in. When this happens you can smell the fresh, moist air. Then the first drops hit you and the ground. before long, you're in a downpour.

I left out the lightning show that immediately precedes the rain, then joins the front of the storm as it clashes with the existing weather front. That is something to see, but you don't need extra senses to experience it.

gracemichael
08-31-2010, 06:38 PM
There is definitely a 'smell' to an incoming rain storm, even before any drops start to fall. I'm not sure how to describe it except that, IMO, it is a very 'clean', crisp, organic scent. Always reminds me of spring.

If there are leaves on the trees, they will usually turn before a rainfall - you can distinctly see a mosaic pattern that is not there normally. Basically, you are seeing the underside of the leaves. I googled the reason for this before I wrote this response and it seems the reason for this has to do with the moisture and wind in the air (but I won't get into all the scientifics!).

If there is a thunderstorm coming along with the rainfall, you will hear very low, far-away rumblings of thunder in the distance. The sky will begin to gradually darken and you may see lightning coming from behind the clouds or forks of lightning streaking down from the sky.

Another thing that I have found through experience ... I have a special needs child and his behavior changes drastically when a weather front (esp. a storm) begins to move in. Not the storm itself, but even a day before when the barometer starts to change. His doctor has said the exact same thing - when a weather front moves in, his waiting room changes completely. He sees many autistic children (as is my son) and they will begin to have increased anxiety, increased behavioral outbursts, increased headaches, etc. I don't know that it is a proven/researched fact, but it certainly does happen.

Fenika
08-31-2010, 06:44 PM
Not helpful in your situation (unless really good sight comes into play) but most rain clouds will get 'puffs' and tendrils under them when it's raining. Thus you can look in the distance or the mountains or whatever and see it's raining over yonder.

I did this A LOT when I lived on a Caribbean island. Funny thing is, it could rain in one area that's a 5-10 minute drive, and not another. Or it's full sun and you're getting drizzled on and you look for the offending cloud...

Failing that, my joints would always get stiff due to the quick change before a big rain.

In short, weather is a strange beast.

Soothing Snow
09-01-2010, 02:31 AM
Thanks everyone for the helpful replies! :)



~Snow

backslashbaby
09-01-2010, 03:06 AM
I don't know if you can literally feel a change in the charge of the air, but around here it seems to be about electricity and changes in pressure. We always have thunder & lightning with a rain. The wind is different, too, usually. But even if it's entirely still, the air/atmosphere literally feels different.

I get migraines with many pressure changes, so I might be especially sensitive to noticing the pressure part.

Linda Adams
09-01-2010, 03:15 AM
In Virginia, the sky will go very dark and the winds start really picking up. And sometimes, it feels so humid outside that we expect the air to burst. Sometimes, too right before a storm, the baromic pressure will change suddenly and everyone with sinus problems gets a headache and doesn't feel well. Storm happens, and everyone feels better.

backslashbaby
09-01-2010, 03:21 AM
We get the humidity one here in NC in the summer, too. It's so humid you can tell that the air can't hold any more water! Sure enough, it rains.