This is my third edition of the lost stories; which are really just stories/mostly articles never published before. Not that I didn’t try. They just never made the cut. Today’s article was an interesting one about animals that can tell when natural disasters occur and serve as a warning to people. The article is called: Animal Storm Tellers.
Animal Storm Tellers
By Shari L Klase
Can animals predict storms or earthquakes or even tidal waves? Well, some scientists seem to think so. How do they do it? Do they have a sixth sense, sometimes called ESP? No, instead they seem to hone in all their other senses, especially their keen sense of hearing.
Have you ever heard of infrasonics? Infrasonics are sounds so low that people can’t hear them. Did you know that some animals can hear these kinds of sounds? Sounds are really vibrations that ae measured in Hertz(Hz). Humans can hear between 20-20,00 Hz. Scientists are finding out that elephants can hear sounds much lower than people can. That is why when a huge tidal wave hit Sri Lanka on Dec. 26,2004, the elephants fled to higher ground before the wave hit. And they weren’t the only animals that did. Even flamingos and nocturnal bats flew away before the tsunami (tidal wave). No dead wild animals were found after the wave hit. Sadly, 230,000 people died in this disaster.
Animals are also in tune to changes in Barometric (air) and Hydrostatic (water) pressure. Hurricanes cause large decreases in air and water pressure. Sharks sensed the barometric pressure dropping during Tropical Storm Gabrielle and Hurricane Charlie and swam to deeper water. Even birds and bees can sense these kinds of changes and fly to their nests and hives.
Can birds predict tornadoes? Birds can predict tiny pressure shifts before extreme weather happens. However, tornadoes move so fast and occur in just one place at a time so there is not much advanced warning, even for birds. Birds do have an advantage in tornadoes, though. Because they are so quick and alert, they can get out of the way faster than people can.
Dogs are also more in tune to drops in barometric pressure and shifts in the static electric field that come before weather changes. Does your dog howl or get nervous before a storm even starts? That may be because a dog has hearing that is twenty times more sensitive than yours. The more often they experience storms, the better they will be alert to the smallest changes. So, your dog might be able to warn you when a bad storm comes.
In 373 BC an old Greek City named Helike sank into the sea one night in winter. It was said that a terrible earthquake and tsunami destroyed the city. Stranger than this sudden disappearance of a whole city is that all the animals including rats, worms and beetles left the city before it was destroyed.
So can animals predict the weather? Maybe. Some scientists think that by studying animals’ reactions to storms maybe people can learn to predict them sooner. Only time will tell what our dog might tell us about the weather.