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Heather’s Weather Whys: the smell of rain

There’s nothing quite like the fresh, sweet smell of the outdoors just after a rainstorm. But what exactly are we smelling?
Credit: WGRZ

Every now and again, after a good warm season rainstorm, a very distinctive yet welcome smell fills the air.

That “after rainstorm” smell is called “petrichor.”

The term was coined back in the 1960s, and it can be broken down into two Greek roots words: “petros,” meaning stone and “ichor,” meaning “fluid that flows through the veins of gods.”

What we’re really smelling is a combination of plant activity, bacteria and sometimes the byproduct of nearby lightning. Watch this week’s Heather’s Weather Whys to learn more.

New episodes of Heather’s Weather Whys are posted to the WGRZ YouTube channel every Wednesday evening. 

If you have a weather question for Heather to answer, send it to her at heather.waldman@wgrz.com or connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

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