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Lookups spiked 6,300% on January 30, 2019
Squall was among our top lookups on January 30th, 2019, borne by weather reports which were full of sound and fury, signifying nothing but that most of you will be very cold tonight.
An arctic front crosses the region late this afternoon and evening, with high impact snow squalls and brief strong to damaging wind gusts. Bitterly cold temperatures and dangerously low wind chills follow tonight into Thursday morning.
— National Weather Service (forecast.weather.gov), 30 Jan. 2019
The relevant sense of squall is “a sudden violent wind often with rain or snow.” The noun also functions in a figurative manner, with the meaning “a short-lived commotion,” and when used as a verb may mean “to cry out raucously” or “to utter in a strident voice.”
The wind piled up waves larger than any I had seen since leaving America and in a nasty squall a portion of our bowsprit was carried away.
— New York Tribune, 22 Aug. 1886
Trend Watch is a data-driven report on words people are looking up at much higher search rates than normal. While most trends can be traced back to the news or popular culture, our focus is on the lookup data rather than the events themselves.