Here is an image from Seattle around 3:30 AM on December 9th, 2016.
Direct mp3 download or play: Thunderstorm 8-12-2015
Here is my recording of a thunderstorm in Seattle on August 12th, 2015. This is probably the best recording of thunder I’ve ever made. What makes this one particularly good is a distinct beginning, middle, and end. It starts slow with ambiance, then several close lightning strikes with sharply loud thunder, followed by heavy rain. The rain tapers, thunder becomes more distant, and the storm ends with more ambient noises. Some of the sounds were from inside my house, such as dishes being washed and other kitchen clatter.
The recording was made using my Sony PCM-D50 recorder placed on a microphone stand, facing out from the sliding glass door in my living room. The built-in condenser microphones were adjusted to 120 degrees, wide stereo. I put a thin layer of tissue paper over the front of the recorder to minimize wind noise.
There is clipping and dynamic range compression effects on some of the loudest audio. If I had allowed for the maximum amount of dynamic range with no clipping, the lowest level of audio would have been almost too quiet. Of course this is my own opinion. Feel free to disagree!
Thunderstorm in Seattle 8-12-2015 waveform – peak level -.29db
Direct mp3 download or play: Rain and Thunder – July 23rd, 2014
Here is a recording of rain, distant thunder, birds, and cars on the street sometime between 5:30 AM and 7 AM on this day. I used my Sony PCM-D50 digital recorder set at 44.1 kHz and 24 bit .wav file. The recorder was set up at the doorway to the deck behind my house in Seattle. Then An mp3 was made at 44.1 kHz and 320 kilobits per second, using the LAME MP3 encoder.
I figured I was pretty lucky to get this, because generally in my opinion the weather in Seattle is similar to California with respect to the the fact that most precipitation happens in the late fall and winter. Seattle simply receives much more rain than California. This doesn’t account for the extreme drought conditions, but for a normal season for California.
Direct mp3 download or play: Rain and Thunder – September 15th, 2013
Finally, here in Seattle, there was a decent thunderstorm worthy of recording! I used my Sony PCM D50 digital recorder with a towel over the built-in microphones to reduce wind noise. This recording was a 24 bit wav file at 48 kilohertz. Then I transferred the file to my computer and used Adobe Audition for some clipping restoration (on the loudest peaks), boosted the high frequencies about 3.5db, and added fades at the beginning and ending. In addition, I tried to keep the dynamics as wide as possible for a more lifelike sound. Someday I may have this file available for downloading. For now it is an mp3 at 320 kilobits, 48 kiloherts, 16 bit. I used RazorLame with the LAME encoder for the highest possible quality mp3.
This was after about an hour between 1:30 PM and 2:30 PM. Be sure to click on the caption or picture for a larger image.
Direct mp3 download or play: The Pineapple Express of 12-12-2010
Heavy rain falling on the bamboo behind my house.
Direct mp3 download or play: Less Rain, More Wind
Less Rain, More Wind
This is some the sound of steady, heavy rain which fell late on December 11th through the middle of December 12th 2010. In a little more than 12 hours, I received three-and-two-thirds inches of rain, and some areas around Seattle received over 10 inches. As you can see on a National Weather Service water vapor satellite picture I included, a stream of white appears to come up from the Hawaiian Islands and head straight for the Pacific Northwest, bypassing California completely. This condition is known as a “Hawaiian” storm, but more recently it goes by the more colorful name “Pineapple Express.” I guess the idea of where pineapples are grown makes this name more dramatic and exciting. To learn more go here.
Since I recently had my house painted, the outside microphones were removed. I simply placed the same microphones in windows about twenty feet apart. More information about how I made this and other recordings of this kind, check out my other posts here.
U. S. National Weather Service water vapor satellite picture, Dec. 12, 2010, 5 AM Pacific Standard Time.
Direct mp3 download or play: Part 1
Direct mp3 download or play: Part 2
Direct mp3 download or play: Part 3
Part 3 With Effects
During the fall and winter of 1997 and 1998, I made several recordings of falling rain at my home in Martinez, California. The rain was some the most intense I had ever witnessed. California was in the midst of an El Niño.
These were made using a DAT recorder, and with a similar setup to recordings I’ve made more recently in Seattle. The main difference, however, is the distance between the two microphones was much greater (over 100 feet). One of the microphones was mounted on an aluminum pie pan, which I hung in a bush on the hillside behind my house, and the other microphone was mounted under the eaves of my house near a downspout.
I used RG-59 cable TV wire, complete with fittings for the more than 100 foot run from the pie pan microphone to my mixer. Because of my job as a cable TV technician, I had access to this type of wire and it worked quite well for audio.
The recordings are quite long and probably somewhat boring unless you really like ambience. In addition, my recording technique uses lots of compression, and tends to show itself with a lot of white noise coming up at times. The audio level noticeably increases and decreases on quieter parts and louder parts, respectively. With that in mind, I hope you can imagine what a really wet day in California can be like.
Electret condenser microphone mounted on pie pan
Pie pan and microphone hanging
Backside showing “F” fitting
Direct mp4 download or play: The Weatherman
Here’s a little film I found on the internet. It’s a bit goofy (like me) and hopefully it will make you laugh.
Direct mp3 download or play: Thunder June 21, 2009
Here is a little thunder I recorded on Sunday afternoon June 21, 2009. The first rumble was the loudest, and in spite of the record level on my Sony PCM-D50 being around the mid point (5 or 6), clipping was indicated when I transferred the file to Adobe Audition. I used “clip restore” to fix the distortion, which incidentally I couldn’t hear anyway. I know this thunder isn’t much compared to storms in the Midwest, but I thought it had kind of a nice ambience along with the other sounds around my house in Seattle. I’ve included a few photos of the sky conditions around the time of this recording as well.
A bit out of focus, maybe.
There was up to 4 more inches of snow overnight in Seattle from December 23rd to December 24th. Everybody thinks I’m nuts, but I am starting to wonder if my roof could collapse.