Jupiter pluvius

RANGE: From the hurricane-harried trailer parks of the Keys to twistertormented Texas trails, through the earthquake-shaking guacamole ranches of California, up through the fog-sodden bogs of the Northwest, across the snowbound, dust-blown plains to the hail-raddled New England coast, Jack B. Nimbus rides the skies, endowing the mortals below with whatever weather they don’t need any more of.
HABITS: This magician of meteorological menace casts spells: wet spells, dry spells, hot spells, and cold snaps. Around the country, he is known by many names. “The Dust Devil,” they call him in the Southwest. In Maine, he’s “Johnny Chinook.” In Florida, “Jack Frost”—in California, David Frost. In the extremely frigid states of Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota and in the tropical regions of Canada slightly to their north, they call him “Abominable Snow Munchkin.” It is the Abominable Snow Munchkin’s practice to skulk upon snowy inclines. When a human being passes below, the Munchkin twitches a tiny lever, dumping an icy load upon the victim. Often the occasion of goodnatured seasonal hilarity, these tricks are sometimes fatal, as when several hundred pounds of ice and slush are unleashed from the roof of a ski resort A-frame. Munchkins prefer a temperature range of 25° to 32° Fahrenheit, which insures good heavy snow and optimal chance to dump it. A subspecies of Jack B. Nimbus: the Abominable Snow Munchkins of Wisconsin.
HISTORY: In the Northwest, they say Jack B. Nimbus comes from England, the country where it only rains twice a week (once for four days straight and once for three). In Southern California, he is believed to be of Italian origin, a Wind Folletti from sunny Sicily, bringing bright sunshine and catastrophic earthquakes. But the Abominable Snow Munchkin is undoubtedly of Scandinavian descent. According to Norse mythology, he was originally formed from the dandruff of a sleeping Frost Giant. His merry pranks passed unnoticed by lugubrious Danes, and the Swedes would go so far as to lie beneath steeply cambered roofs invoking his aid in their perpetual attempts at suicide. He therefore travelled to the New World, where, even in the northernmost cities of the U.S., the first snowfall of the year is regarded as a totally unexpected natural disaster on a level with the destruction of Pompeii.
SPOTTER’S TIPS: When it is cold enough to make the paps of a sorceress seem thermodynamic, when there is sufficient precipitation that the mallards rejoice, when the ova of barnyard fowl may be prepared upon the pavement, Jack B. Nimbus is doing his thing. Self-proclaimed “weathermen” and “weatherwomen,” in league with the Mind Boggles, often claim a precognitive awareness of Jack B. Nimbus, but their boasts are often a boost only to the very Small Businessmen selling umbrellas, gloves, leg warmers and hats on urban streetcorners. Best advice: Look up.


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