ASK TOM WHY:

Dear Tom,

An elderly relative, born in 1916, tells us that the phrase “pneumonia weather” originated during the Great Influenza of 1918 and was used ever since. What is “pneumonia weather”?

Joy Hajduk-DeGraff

Dear Joy,

While not a meteorologically or medically-correct term, pneumonia weather has come to be associated with a rapid temperature change that causes people to be improperly dressed for the weather, supposedly making them susceptible to illness. The term “pneumonia front”, was coined by the National Weather Service office in Milwaukee to describe a rapid temperature drop along the lakefront from a fast-moving cold front moving down Lake Michigan in spring or summer that can crash temperatures 30 or more degrees in just a few minutes as strong, gusty northeast winds deliver the lake-chilled air.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s