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Published by: outdash2 on Apr 26, 2012
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02/01/2013

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28
d haTva
 
iana ikw
SMAll STorMS, big effecTS
ou are on a cruise, spending your days enjoying tenderprime rib, tanning on the ship’s sun-drenched deck,and playing competitive games of ping-pong in one of the arcades. As you stroll to breakfast one clear, sunny morning, a drop of water falls on your head. Dismissing it asmist from the ocean, you walk on, following your nose towardsthe scent of fresh fruit and frying omelets. Suddenly, the windbegins to howl, the skies open up, and gigantic drops of rain pourdown, soaking all the passengers on the ship’s deck. As you dashtowards the dining room, you are thrown to and fro as the boatrocks in the stormy seas. The captains call for passengers to
evacuate the deck is mufed by rumbles of thunder, and safety lights are overpowered by ashes of lightning. After nally reaching the dining room, you peer out one of 
the windows. Between monstrous waves splashing against theglass, you catch a glimpse of the sea and are shocked by what you
nd. A short distance away, the waters are calm, the sun is shin
-ing, and other ships are proceeding peacefully on course. The prophet
Yonah 
experienced a similar phenomenon. Heleft Israel to “run from before G-d” and boarded a ship heading to
Tarshish 
Yonah 
1:3). However,
Yonah 
never reached
Tarshish 
,since G-d sent “
ruach gedola el hayam 
,” “a great wind to the sea,” which resulted in a “
sa’ar gadol bayam 
,” “a great storm in the sea”
Yonah 
1:4). The passengers subsequently cast lots to determine
b’shelmi hara’ah hazos 
,” “because of whom did this bad occur?”
Yonah 
1:7) The lots revealed that
Yonah 
was the culprit, so thepassengers, observing that the seas grew stormier, tossed
Yonah 
 overboard. The
Radak
Yonah 
1:7) asked an obvious question: Why did the travelers assume that the storm raged as a result of one of the travelers on their boat? Weren’t other boats on thesea also suffering? The
Radak
quoted
Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer 
whorelated that when passengers on
Yonah 
’s boat looked to their right
and left, they saw other boats oating peacefully. Only one boat
 was engulfed by the storm -
Yonah 
s.Similarly, at
 Matan Torah 
, the giving of the Torah, in the SinaiDesert, the Torah describes the scene, “
Vayehi kolos u’vrakim v’anan kaved al hahar 
,” “There was thunder and lightning, and a heavy cloud on the mountain” ( 
Shemos 
19:16). This storm, similar to
y
that in the book of 
Yonah 
, occurred over so small a width that it was concentrated only over one mountain. In this case, however,the storm occurred in a desert and not at sea.Is it possible to explain these localized storms described in
Yonah 
and
Shemos b’derech hateva 
, according to the laws of nature? Yes, these storms may well have been microbursts, local stormsgenerally less than one mile in width [1] and consisting of windsover 100 mph [2]. A microburst is a small but powerful storm
that develops in three stages: In the rst stage, the contact stage,
air is forced downward from the clouds, accelerates, and reachesthe ground. In the second stage, the outburst stage, the wind,after reaching the ground, diverges and curls outward. In thelast stage, the cushion stage, these diverging wind gusts deceler-ate as a result of friction with the ground. This slowing of the winds as they move away from the microburst may explain why 
microbursts are conned to a very small area. The winds of a
microburst are extremely dangerous due to their unexpected andrapid development and extraordinary speed. Additionally, the di- vergent air creates a vortex, or horizontal spiral of wind, powerfulenough even to uproot trees much like a tornado [3].Microbursts form through a mechanism called evaporativecooling. In this process, hot air rises, cools as it rises, and con-denses into clouds. As the clouds become saturated, rain beginsto fall. As rain falls from the clouds, it travels through drier air. The drier air causes some of the rain to evaporate, absorbing heatfrom the air and cooling it. The cool air is denser than warmerair, so it falls, accelerating until it reaches the ground. During thecontact stage of a microburst, this downward air, called a down-burst, eventually hits the ground. After reaching the ground, theoutburst stage begins when the downburst diverges horizontally 
Is it possible to explain these localized
stms sib i yah a Shmsb’h hatva, ai t th aws  atu?

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