The Library of Congress > Wise Guide > April 2010 > April Showers Bring May Flowers
April Showers Bring May Flowers

In the Northern Hemisphere, April tends to be a rather wet month with an influx of spring rains. One of the major causes of the often-heavy downpours is the position of the jet stream. In early spring, the jet stream starts to move northward, allowing large depressions to bring strong winds and rain in from the Atlantic. In one day, the weather can change from springtime sunshine to wintry sleet and snow.

People with umbrellas walking in the rain from “Flood!” by Eric Drooker. Between 1985 and 1992. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Information: Reproduction No.: LC-DIG-ppmsca-17460 (digital file from original item); Call No.: Unprocessed in PR 13 CN 2006:121, no. 107 [P&P] Compound microscope as rendered by artist in Descartes "La Dioptrique." 1637. Rare Book and Special Collections Division. Reproduction Information: Reproduction No.: LC-USZ62-110450 (b&w film copy neg.); Call No.: Illus. in Q155 .D43 [Rare Book RR]

Several weather-related webcasts are available online. Meteorologist Bob Ryan discusses weather forecasting. NASA scientists discuss hurricane exploration, the sun and Earth’s water cycle.

Usually, we try to dodge April showers, but the one that arrives the morning of April 22 may be worth seeking out. Every year in late April, Earth passes through the dusty tail of Comet Thatcher (C/1861 G1), and the encounter causes a meteor shower – the Lyrids. The best time to look, no matter where you live, is during the dark hours before dawn.

The Science, Technology and Business Division has put together a guide of select Internet resources on meteor showers.

If you’re in more of a song mood instead of science, the American Memory collection Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music has several piano pieces for you to try your hand at: “Meteor Gallop,” “Shower of Meteors,” “Shooting Meteor” and “Le Météore.”