The wall-hung mercury barometer utilized in the days of sail presented approximately thirty inches of height level of the mercury in it's glass tube in fair weather. When a vessel sailed into a barometric Low Pressure region, the mercury level became lower and tended to indicate the presence of oncoming thunderstorms, gales, or a possible hurricane.
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"falling glass." Phrases.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 19 Oct. 2018. <https://www.phrases.net/phrase/falling-glass_16436>.