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What Phobia Is Weather Related

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Do You Have Any Of These Weather Phobias

A phobia is an extreme or irrational fear of something. The well-known phobias deal with confined spaces, spiders, public speaking, heights, and so on. But did you know there are phobias associated with the weather? Here are 10 of the most common weather phobias:

1. Heliophobia: fear of the sun

2. Ancraophobia: fear of wind

3. Nephophobia: fear of clouds

4. Cymophobia: fear of waves

5. Homichlophobia: fear of fog

6. Astraphobia: fear of thunder and lightning

7. Ombrophobia: fear of rain

8. Lilapsophobia: fear of tornadoes and hurricanes

9. Chionophobia: fear of snow

10. Antlophobia: fear of floods

You may think these fears are rare, but 1 in 10 people have a weather-related phobia. For a better understanding of each of these aversions, be sure to check your local listings for Top 10: Weather Phobias on The Weather Channel!

What do you think about these phobias? Comment below or start a discussion in our new Community Forum!

To learn more about Lilapsophobia, click .

Astraphobia Fear Of Thunderstorms


Nearly ?one-third of the U.S. population experiences astraphobia, or a fear of thunder and lightning. It is the most common of all weather fears, especially among children and pets.

While it is easier said than done, keeping distracted during thunderstorms is one of the most effective ways to ease anxiety.

What Are The Symptoms Of Specific Phobias

Symptoms of specific phobias may include:

  • Excessive or irrational fear of a specific object or situation
  • Avoiding the object or situation or enduring it with great distress
  • Physical symptoms of anxiety or a panic attack, such as a pounding , or , , trembling or shaking, numbness or tingling, problems with breathing , feeling dizzy or lightheaded, feeling like you are choking
  • Anticipatory , which involves becoming nervous ahead of time about being in certain situations or coming into contact with the object of your phobia; for example, a person with a fear of dogs may become anxious about going for a walk because they may see a dog along the way.

Children with a specific phobia may express their anxiety by crying, clinging to a parent, or throwing a tantrum.

The Root Of Storm Anxiety

Fear can be a good thing when it’s an instinct of self-preservation. During a storm, for instance, fear can prompt a dog to seek shelter. When a dog is safe inside and protected by their human companions, however, this fear may become irrational. In Pets on the Couch, Dr. Nicholas Dodman writes that the physiological responses to anxiety are the similar in humans and animals:

“The amygdala, the brain’s Grand Central Terminal for both fear and anxiety, lights up on PET imaging scans in anxious and fearful animals and people. The long-term memory center, the hippocampus, is also involved in propagating the response. Connections between the amygdala, hippocampus, and hypothalamus facilitate release of stress hormones, like epinephrine and cortisol. Epinephrine increases heart rate, blood pressure, and the caliber of the respiratory passages…. In addition, endorphins are released in reaction to fear. So in both people and nonhuman animals, the same neurotransmitters are released in brain regions that deal with anxiety and similar behaviors result.” – pg 157

Some dog owners may try to discipline their pets’ behavior because they don’t recognize the signs of anxiety, which only reinforces the negative association with storms. If we can learn to distinguish the symptoms of canine anxiety, we can not only avoid unnecessary scolding, but we can also take early action to relieve their stress before the storm hits. Symptoms of canine storm anxiety include:

  • Changes in smell
  • Thunder

Advice From Meteorologists On Dealing With Storm Anxiety

eco anxiety climate change related depression on the

In our area, we will see storms every year, and unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do to stop them. This can make you feel powerless. But there is a way to empower yourself and that’s through knowledge and preparation. It can be helpful to think about what exactly it is about severe weather or storms that makes you afraid, stressed or nervous, Knowing what it is that makes you stressed or anxious can help you find ways to deal with that stress and anxiety.

Tips to empower you if you have specific concerns about…
Family Communication

Here are some things you can do to empower yourself and take more control over your weather fears:

Why Am I Afraid Of Tornadoes And Severe Storms

The fear of storms or tornadoes can develop for many reasons. Some of the most common reasons people develop this fear may include:

  • Trauma experienced during a severe storm– If you’ve ever been a severe storm or tornado, this probably left a sensitivity and awareness of the devastation they can cause. Therefore, you have now learned to fear the awesome power of these powerful forces.
  • Seeing videos or footage of these storms–Sometimes seeing the devastation left by these on the news, in pictures, and on the internet may have left an impression on you that left a deep fear in your mind.
  • Losing a Loved One–Losing a loved one in severe weather can also cause stress and trauma that may result in a fear of tornadoes, hurricanes, and storms.
  • Deep Rooted Fear of Death or Nature’s Wrath

My fear of tornadoes began when I was young . As I browsed through the encyclopedia set in my house, I came across the “T” encyclopedia. As I flipped through the pictures, I stumbled upon the section on tornadoes. As I seen pictures of massive black swirling funnels and horrendous devastation left behind by them, I was immediately blown away by the power of these storms.

When I read the article, it was even worse. The article went on to mention just how deadly they are, how they can strike pretty much anywhere in the United States , and so forth.

What Are The Risk Factors For Astraphobia

Some people may be at increased risk for this phobia. Simply being a child can be a risk factor. Storms can be especially scary for kids, but most grow out of these feelings as they age.

Some children with and sensory processing disorders, such as auditory processing disorder, may have a harder time controlling their emotions during a storm because they have heightened sensitivity to sound.

In “Dancing in the Rain: Stories of Exceptional Progress by Parents of Children with Special Needs,” author Annabel Stehli compares the sound of raindrops to bullets as an example of how children with sensory integration disorder experience rain. Anxiety is also among kids with autism. This may exacerbate discomfort, both before or during a storm.

Anxiety disorders often run in families, and sometimes have a genetic link. Individuals with a family history of anxiety, depression, or phobias may be at greater risk for astraphobia.

Experiencing weather-related trauma can also be a risk factor. For example, someone who has had a traumatic or negative experience caused by severe weather may acquire a phobia to storms.

Severe Storms: How To Reduce Your Anxiety

Anticipating the arrival of a hurricane, tornado, blizzard, or any severe storm strikes fear and anxiety in the people in its path for good reason. Natural disasters disrupt lives in significant ways, including creating physical and mental health problems and major economic challenges. And the never-ending news about a storm’s arrival may increase your anxiety, stress, and fear.Here are some tips to help you take care of your own mental health, as well as your family’s before and after a storm.


It’s only natural to feel scared, anxious, and nervous. Recognize your emotions and try these tips to alleviate your anxiety.

  • Create a plan — A well-prepared plan for your family can help reduce anxiety and chaos before, during, and afterward. Make an evacuation plan and compile preparedness kits. Get tips from the Red Cross. 
  • Be informed — Stay up-to-date on weather information and warnings. If you’re aware of the latest information, you may gain a sense of control over the situation.
  • Talk it out — Share your fears with family members, friends, a counselor, or others who can offer emotional support.
  • Accept what you can’t control — Nobody can control the path of a storm or its damage. And excessive worrying that one may hit you will not change anything except your emotional well-being.

Take tips from the Mayo Clinic for talking to kids about weather-related anxiety:

After the Storm

Prolonged Anxiety and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Helping Children

Nephophobia Fear Of Clouds

Ordinarily, are harmless and entertaining to watch. But for people with nephophobia, or fear of clouds, their presence in the sky — specifically their massive size, odd shapes, shadows, and the very fact that they “live” overhead — is quite disturbing. Lenticular clouds, which are often likened to UFOs, are one such example of this.

Nephophobia can also be caused by an underlying fear of severe weather. The dark and ominous clouds associated with thunderstorms and tornadoes are a visual cue that dangerous weather may be near.

Homichlophobia describes the fear of a specific type of cloud: .

Ombrophobia: A Fear Of Rain

In Canada, the worst place for someone who suffers from a fear of rain is B.C., which typically receives more rainfall than anywhere else in the country.

Abbotsford, B.C., for example, typically sees more than 1,500 mm of rain a year — but there are other rainy parts of the country as well.

St. John’s, Newfoundland, isn’t that far behind, with an average annual rainfall amounts hovering around 1,190 millimetres.

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Ombrophobia Fear Of Rain


Rainy days are generally disliked for the inconveniences they cause, but people with an actual fear of rain have other reasons for wanting the rain to go away. They may be afraid to go out in the rain because exposure to damp weather could bring on illness. If gloomy weather hangs around for days, it can begin to affect their mood or bring on bouts of depression.

Related phobias include aquaphobia, a fear of water, and antiophobia, a fear of floods.

In addition to learning more about precipitation and its importance in sustaining all forms of life, another technique to try to alleviate this fear is to incorporate nature relaxation sounds into everyday activities.

Can Cats Have Storm Anxiety

Top 10 weather phobias

With their acute sense of hearing, it makes sense that dogs would be afraid of loud noises such as those made by fireworks or storms. But feline ears are more sensitive than both humans and dogs, so why isn’t storm anxiety at least as common in cats?

The simple answer may be that some cats do suffer from storm anxiety, but they employ different methods to cope with it. According to Jan Hoffman, “Animal behavior experts say cats often seem more self-reliant and understated than dogs, so when they hide under beds during storms, owners may not read that response as unusual.”

Because phobic symptoms can be subtle in cats, it’s important for their human companions to pay close attention for any signs of anxiety during storms, fireworks, or other loud noises. If you find your cat exhibiting symptoms of storm anxiety, the recommended approach and treatment to alleviate their fear is the same as with dogs: through behavior modification training or medication prescribed by a veterinarian.

Weather Phobias: Which One Is Your Nemesis

Fears and phobias related to weather are specific to environment-related natural phenomena. There have been many instances where people who have gone through severe weather events such as hurricanes, tornadoes or tsunamis have been found to be suffering from memory loss, flashbacks, panic attacks, post traumatic stress disorder and other such psychological discomforts. Recent research has shown that some of the greatest fears have to do with the weather. Let’s have a look at some of the wildest weather phobias and celebrate spectacular weather moments.

Understanding Chionophobia Or The Fear Of Snow

David Susman, PhD

Chionophobia, or intense fear of snow, is a type of phobia categorized as an environmental phobia. Environmental phobias include other weather-related phobias like the fear of thunderstorms and the fear of wind .

According to the American Meteorological Society, environmental phobias like chionophobia are the second most prevalent phobia subtype.??

How Is Nephophobia Diagnosed

There is no simple lab test to determine if you have nephophobia. If you experience symptoms, the best thing you can do is speak to your general practitioner who will refer you to a mental health specialist, such as a counselor or psychiatrist.

Through a series of questions during a sit-down diagnostic interview, your mental health professional will be able to determine if what you are experiencing is a phobia or not. Once you have received your official diagnosis, that same mental health professional will work with you to create a treatment plan.

Nephophobia can be treated with a combination of talk exposure therapy, EDMR therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy , and prescription medication.

Weird Food Phobias People Actually Have

“Food” and “phobia” are the last two words many of us think would ever appear in the same sentence. After all, how can one fear something that’s essential to both our existence and sanity? Believe it or not, there is a good chunk of people out there who are actually terrified of certain eats or scared by the sensations associated with them.

Sometimes The Weather Outside Really Is Frightful Which Events Make Your Heart Race See The List Of 5 Common Weather Fears If You Dare

Tiffany Means

There’s a reason why ghost stories begin with “It was a dark and stormy night….” Gloomy weather can be spooky, and sometimes Mother Nature can throw some very scary storms our way. According to a recent study, at least 1 in 10 Americans suffer from some type of weather fear. But what kind of weather spooks us the most? 

We did some digging and came up with a list of the five most common weather-related phobias:

How Are Specific Phobias Treated

Treatment for specific phobias may include one or a combination of:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: Psychotherapy is the cornerstone of treatment for specific phobias. Treatment usually involves a type of cognitive behavioral therapy, called systematic desensitization or exposure and response prevention therapy, in which patients are gradually exposed to what frightens them until their fear begins to fade.
  • Medication: For situational phobias that produce intense, temporary anxiety , short-acting sedative-hypnotics such as or   may be prescribed on an occasional, as-needed basis to help reduce anticipatory anxiety. Unless a phobia is accompanied by other conditions such as or panic disorder, long-term or daily medicines are generally not used. Occasionally, serotonergic  such asescitalopram oxalate ,   , and  may have potential value for some patients. More recently, common blood pressure drugs called beta-blockers have been used to treat anxiety related to specific phobias.
  • Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, may also help reduce anxiety symptoms.

What Causes Nephophobia

Nephophobia is classified as a “simple ,” meaning that the trigger is fairly straightforward. Genetics and your family history might be at play if you’ve had this phobia for as long as you can remember.

Weather-related phobias impact more people than you might think. In one small survey, nearly 5 percent of participants reported having some sort of weather-related phobia. More than 11 percent of people in that same survey reported that they know someone who experiences the symptoms of severe-weather phobias.

Researchers in that study concluded that weather-related phobias are often caused by a traumatic experience with severe weather.

Exposure to extreme bad weather that is related to clouds — such as tornadoes, hurricanes, and tropical storms — can sometimes mark the beginning of nephophobia.

Sometimes people are specifically afraid of clouds that move through the night as they can resemble unidentified flying objects . This can be caused by a general fear of alien beings or outer space , a fear of the dark , or a fear of the unknown.

Top 10: Weather Phobias

7 Weather

Mittens was unimpressed by the stratocumulus above

Digital News Editor

Tuesday, July 01, 2014, 08:53 GMT –

For most of us, it’s an annoyance; a rain cloud spoiling our al fresco lunch. But for a nephophobe, a hovering cumulonimbus could strike fear into their heart.

There are many phobias of different weather phenomena. Now, here at the Weather Network, we love everything about the weather, but in the interests of balance, here is a list of the curious weather phobias that some people may suffer from…

1. Nephophobia – fear of clouds

A nephophobe is afraid of clouds. From fluffy cumulus and wispy cirrus, to the godfather of them all, cumulonimbus, there are plenty out there to be afraid of…

2. Ombrophobia – fear of rain

The worst place in the UK for an ombrophobe to live would be the western Highlands of Scotland, which get over three metres of rain a year.

3. Chinophobia – fear of snow

Skiing or snowboarding is out of the question for someone who is chinophobic. As is building a snowman… 

4. Ancraophobia – fear of wind

The highest wind speeds in the UK are generally recorded at the top of mountains, with the strongest ever gust recorded at Cairngorm Summit in 1983 – it was 173mph!

5. Homichlophobia – fear of fog

If you’re caught in a real pea-souper, driving or walking can be truly terrifying – especially for homichlophobes.

6.Heliophobia – fear of the sun7. Thermophobia – fear of heat8. Frigophobia – fear of cold9.Astraphobia – fear of thunder and lightning

What Are The Symptoms

In people without this phobia, news of an impending storm may lead you to cancel or relocate outdoor plans. Or if you find yourself in a lightning storm, you may seek shelter or move away from tall trees. Even though the chances of getting hit by lightning are , these actions represent an appropriate response to a potentially dangerous situation.

A person with astraphobia will have a reaction that goes beyond these seemingly appropriate acts. They may have feelings of panic, both before and during a storm. These feelings can escalate into a full-blown panic attack, and include symptoms such as:

  • all-over body shaking

Other symptoms of astraphobia may include:

  • sweaty palms
  • racing pulse
  • obsessive desire to monitor the storm
  • the need to hide away from the storm, such as in a closet, bathroom, or under the bed
  • clinging to others for protection
  • uncontrollable crying, particularly in children

The person may also understand that these feelings are overblown and irrational without the ability to curtail them.

These symptoms can be triggered by a weather report, conversation, or sudden sound, such as a clap of thunder. Sights and sounds that are similar to thunder and lightning may also trigger symptoms.

Scared Of Storms Researchers Say You’re Not Alone

Do you lose sleep over the weather?

One in 10 Americans may suffer from severe weather phobia — a fear of extreme weather such as hurricanes, wildfires or tornadoes so strong that they may feel helpless or can’t sleep, according to new research.

Ball State University geographer Jill Coleman teamed up with her mother, University of Kansas psychologist Karen Multon, to survey 300 people about their weather anxieties.

It’s actually good to be a little scared of storms, Coleman said. “It’s definitely normal, and we want people to have some sort of fear of storms to an extent, because you’re more apt to be proactive about it … but not to the point where people are so fearful they do nothing.”

Some people reported physical symptoms, such as feeling dizzy or helpless, or having increased heart pounding or sleeplessness. Others reported behavioral symptoms, such as obsessively monitoring the weather or changing their schedules.

Coleman said an estimated 2 percent to 3 percent of the population has some form of environmental phobia, which is the umbrella over the “sub-phobia” of types of weather incidents.

In the survey, about 80 percent of respondents said they do not suffer from severe weather phobia. Almost 5 percent said they think they do, and the remaining 15 percent said they are unsure.

One in 10 respondents reported their fear of severe weather rated “extreme” or “quite a bit,” the study found.

Three percent said they sought help for weather-related fears.

How Do You Treat Astraphobia

The good news is that astraphobia doesn’t have to be permanent. The condition is reversible and can be treated with anxiety medication or relaxation techniques. Psychotherapy has been found to be the most effective means of tackling astraphobia and other types of anxiety. 

Psychotherapy may include mental health therapies like: 

  • Exposure Therapy: Exposure therapy involves allowing the person with the phobia to, in a controlled setting, experience the source of their fear in increments. Slowly, they can adapt to and overcome the cause of their anxiety. The important thing is for the exposure to be done little by little, so the person has time to acclimate to it without being overwhelmed. 
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Often called simply CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of talk therapy that emphasizes the structure of thought. It analyzes how you think about a given stimulus, like thunder, and the way you may automatically move from one thought to another in response to that stimulus. The idea behind CBT is essentially to interrupt and ultimately break that cycle. 

Battling A Weather Phobia

Thomas Spychalski

Weather-related phobias are a type of natural environment-related specific phobia. Just as a phobia can develop of any object or situation, any type of weather phenomenon can become the subject of a phobia. Some common weather-related phobias include astraphobia, brontophobia, or , aluchophobia , anemophobia , lilapsophobia , heliophobia , cionophobia , or cryophobia .

These phobias, just like most phobias, can be easily treated by self-help in mild cases, or with the help of a professional therapist. If the phobia is severe and self-help has not alleviated it, professional therapy may be required to treat it. Medication may help control day to day anxiety associated with the phobia, or to control panic attacks, but it does not eliminate the phobia itself. Some literature and many phobics assert that the side affects of medications used are as bad as the phobia!

If you have been through a natural disaster like a hurricane, tsunami, or tornado, and are experiencing memory loss, flashbacks or otherwise relive the traumatic event during the day and/or night, and/or find yourself feeling numb or hypervigilant, you may have posttraumatic stress disorder , and you may need a different type of treatment than that discussed here. Please see a counselor or psychologist.

Some important information about treating weather-related phobias:

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What Causes Specific Phobias

The exact cause of specific phobias is not known, but most appear to be associated with a traumatic experience or a learned reaction. For example, a person who has a frightening or threatening experience with an animal, such as an attack or being bitten, can develop a specific phobia. Witnessing a traumatic event in which others experience harm or extreme fear can also cause a specific phobia, as can receiving information or repeated warnings about potentially dangerous situations or animals.

Fear can be learned from others, as well. A child whose parents react with fear and anxiety to certain objects or situations is likely to also respond to those objects with fear.

How Are Specific Phobias Diagnosed

If symptoms of a specific phobia are present, the doctor will begin an evaluation by performing a medical and psychiatric history and may perform a brief physical exam. Although there are no lab tests to specifically diagnose specific phobias, the doctor may use various tests to make sure that a physical illness isn’t the cause of the symptoms.

If no physical illness is found, you may be referred to a psychiatrist, , or other mental health professional who is specially trained to diagnose and treat mental illnesses. Psychiatrists and psychologists use clinical interviews and assessment tools to evaluate a person for a specific phobia.

The doctor bases their diagnosis of specific phobias on reported symptoms, including any problems with functioning caused by the symptoms. A specific phobia is diagnosed if the person’s fear and anxiety are particularly distressing or if they interfere with their daily routine, including school, work, social activities, and relationships.

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