Why do so many ghost stories begin with the words “It was a dark and stormy night…”? Dark skies can be scary, and Mother Nature can unleash terrifying storms from time to time.
At least one in ten Americans is afraid of the weather, according to a recent survey. But what kind of climate causes the most anxiety?
Astraphobia, or the fear of thunder and lightning
Even though animals can have it too, most people are afraid of the night sky or the stars. Scientists believe that 2-3% of Americans are afraid of thunderstorms.
This is about the same percentage as people who are afraid of enclosed spaces (fear of small spaces).
Tornado and hurricane phobia, or lilaphobia
For others, the combination of a thunderstorm and the extreme storms it can develop into (like a tornado or hurricane) is unbearable.
Fear of the wind (anacrphobia)
Some storm phobics are not really afraid of the storm itself, but rather of the changes in temperature and humidity that it brings. A person who is wind phobic (anacrphobic) is likely to react like this.
The destructive power of wind, including its tendency to knock down trees and power lines, cause structural damage to houses, and carry debris and loose objects into the air, is the cause of their concern. Some asthmatics fear that strong winds could literally cut off their air.
Chionophobia (or fear of snow)
Although “chionophobia” may not sound like a widespread phobia, if you have a strong aversion to the cold and snow of the winter season (as many people do!), it is likely that you suffer from it.
Fear of snow does not have to be limited to individual snowflakes, but can also relate to the dangers associated with snowy weather, such as slippery surfaces, increased risk of accidents, limited visibility and the possibility of getting stuck.
Worry about precipitation is referred to as “ombrophobia” or “fear of rain”
Because ombrophobia stems from a genuine fear of the stars, it is one of the recognised phobias. Those who have a fear of rain, especially children, often do so because they associate thunderstorms with heavy downpours.
Surprisingly, even mild weather can increase stress and heart rate. For those who suffer from the following (legitimate) phobias, even “normal” weather can be frightening:
- Nephophobia (fear of clouds) (fear of clouds)
- Homichlophobia (fear of fog) (the fear of fog)
- Cryophobia (the fear of frost or cold days) (the fear of frost or cold days)
- Thermophobia (the fear of warm days) (the fear of warm days)
- Heliophobia (fear of the sun) (fear of the sun)
Even though it’s always smart to be careful when the weather could be dangerous, real phobias can have terrible effects.
Talk to your doctor about getting help if you think you have a weather phobia that is preventing you from going outside or if you have significant physical symptoms.