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Wind, Additional Subthemes

Subthemes: Records, Expressions in General Use

The subthemes above arise from four works of art: a movie that relies on a tornado, a Shelley poem about spirit, a Bob Dylan song that looks for answers in the wind, and a painting of a boat in off-shore wind. We have a few more subthemes to present.

Records: As with all scientific phenomena, the world has experienced wind extremes and keeps track of records. Here is a sample of chart toppers regarding wind.

• Fastest gust – Mount Washington, New Hampshire, holds the world record for the fastest wind gust ever recorded on the surface of the Earth: 231 miles per hour on April 12, 1934

• Fastest tornado wind speed – A leading tornado researcher said his team recorded 301 mph winds in a tornado that touched down near Moore, Oklahoma on May 3, 1999

• Highest speed of a tornado along the ground – 73 miles per hour (117 km/h) by the 1925 Tri-State Tornado

• Widest tornado – May 21, 2013, west of Oklahoma City, the El Reno twister reached an unthinkable maximum width of 2.6 miles

• Fastest Atlantic hurricane wind speed – Hurricane Allen in 1980 reached maximum sustained winds of 190 mph (310 km/h)

• Highest U.S. storm surge – Hurricane Katrina’s 27.8 feet in Pass Christian, Mississippi in 2005

• Fastest moving hurricane – “The Long Island Express” in 1938, a category 3 storm, travelled between 60 and 70 miles per hour

• Deadliest typhoon – The Great Bhola Cyclone smashed into Bangladesh on Nov. 12, 1970, from the Bay of Bengal and took 300,000-500,000 lives

Expressions in General Use: Here is a gale of expressions that use “wind” in more generalized senses. Several came from the website Phrases and the Free Dictionary. The 32 are listed in alphabetical order.

“a breath of wind“ (respite from a bad time)

“a candle in the wind“ (something that is quite vulnerable or fragile, and could fail at any moment)

“a reed before the wind lives on (while mighty oaks do fall)” (sometimes the less powerful succeed)

“a straw in the wind” (indication of what might happen in the future)

“an ill wind that blows no good” (one person’s misfortune is often another person’s good luck)

“bend with the wind” (yield to a more powerful person or organization)

“blowing in the wind” (unknowable, without clear answer)

“break wind (flatulence, pass gas)

“dangle in the wind” (be exposed to blame or severe criticism)

“don’t need a weatherman to know the way the wind blows” (no expert need tell you the obvious)

“finger to the wind” (sense which way events are moving)

“four (or three) sheets to the wind” (extremely drunk)

“get the wind up“ (having forces moving in the same direction as you are going)

“get wind of” (hear about, especially facts intended to have been kept secret)

“get your second wind“ (re-energize)

“go (or run) like the wind“ (race quickly)

“gone with the wind” (dead)

“knock the wind out of someone” (give a blow that throws someone back, deals them a major loss)

“sail close to the wind” (behave on the verge of dangerously, improperly or illegally)

“sail into the wind“ (do something the hard way)

“scattered to the four winds” (spread far and wide)

“solar wind” (the cosmic rays that flow through the universe)

“someone is windy“ (they bloviate, talk too much)

“sow the wind, reap the whirlwind” (a person’s bad actions will come back to haunt him)

“spit in the wind” (something that is ineffective or a waste of time)

“take the wind out of someone’s sails“ (deflate them, puncture the balloon of boasting)

“the winds of change“ (alterations that will affect you)

“throw caution to the wind (take a huge risk; be very daring; act recklessly)

“twist in the wind” (leave others in doubt about what will happen)

“whistle in the wind (attempt something futile; say something that is not heeded)

“willow in the wind” (one who easily and regularly changes views by the persuasion of others)

“wind at your back” (have advantages when you act)

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