Pat Shingleton: "Locusts..."
Heavy rain and mild temperatures in Northwest Africa can increase the number of locusts. When skies are overcast, locusts create a swarming configuration that is spread-out. During hot weather, locusts will more likely form swarms that can be a mile high. Locusts can destroy a field of crops in a matter of hours and in Africa these bugs strike regularly. In Northwest Africa, locusts have infested an estimated seven to ten million acres of land as desert locusts consume their own weight of food each day. In twenty-four hours, a small area of swarming locusts eat enough food to feed 2,500 people. By monitoring weather conditions, The National Meteorological and Hydrological Services will be working in conjunction with the World Meteorological Organization and containment specialists to predict the breeding rates of swarms to better eradicate them with pesticides. Also, whether it is ancient scriptures, modern novels, prose or poetry, weather remains a constant reference in literature throughout the ages. Indra, the god of war and weather is often featured in collections of sacred Hindu writings, first written 3,000 years ago. The Bible, has numerous weather-related references from Noah and the great flood to drought in Genesis. Weather is another literary feature of the Norse Eddas of the 13th century and according to legend, Thor rode the heavens in a goat-drawn chariot inside storms of thunder and lightning. In the late 16th and early 17th centuries the dramatic works of William Shakespeare noted weather as a symbolic element of his writings. He used stormy weather as a metaphor for human relationships in Macbeth, Julius Caesar and King Lear.