THE MEETING CLOUDS CONTEND

Between us and the sea, there are continual mountains, hill behind hill, which some-how divert the storms, and give them a different direction. High promontories and elevated grounds, have always been observed to attract clouds and disarm them of their mischievous contents, which are discharged into the trees and summits as soon as they came in contact with these turbulent meteors; while the humble vales escape, because they are so far beneath them.

On June 5th 1784, the thermometer in the morning being at 64, and at noon at 70, I observed a blue mist, smelling strongly of sulphur, and seeming to indicate that thunder was at hand. It began with vast drops of rain, which were soon succeeded by round hail, and then by convex pieces of ice which measured three inches in girth. Had it been extensive as it was violent, and of any continuance, it must have ravaged all the neighbourhood.

The hail broke my north windows, and all my garden-lights and hand-glasses, and many of my neighbours windows. The extent of the storm was about two miles in length and one in breadth. There fell at the same time prodigious torrents of rain, which occasioned a flood as violent as it was sudden, doing great damage to the meadows and fallows, by deluging one and washing away the soil of the other.

GILBERT WHITE 1787