Pandemics are popular. Most films and television programs that center on the nouveau “zombie” popularity involve some form of pandemic. Perhaps the most noted pandemic to ever strike the globe was that of the Black Death.
Nature often provides some kind of indication when disaster is about to strike. Tornadoes have signature cloud formations. Hurricanes often have a build up of winds and precipitation that continually worsen.
This was a phenomenal year for anyone interested in meteorology, especially in weird weather. Many historic accounts state the seasons were reversed in 1348. Snow fell in France during the summer.