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#84461 - 10/23/02 04:07 PM precipataion
of troy Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/17/00
Posts: 5400
Loc: rego park
C J Strolin 's post in biz buzz, about rain
An older expression that I haven't heard for years is "It's raining pitchforks." I was reminded of this expression recently while reading a postcard which was written in the late 1800's which mentioned the weather as "raining pitchforks and hammer handles." "Pitchforks", OK, but "hammer handles"?! You KNOW that had to be a drencher!! got me thinking about rain and other stuff

how do you define rain?
when it just starts, it could be "spittin'"
but if it is a light, misty rain, its "soft" (as in a soft day)
then there is just rain
which can be steady (steady rain)which sometimes becomes bubble rain (the rain drop, magically from bubbles on impact, -- a summer only thing, from the heat of the tarmac)

then there is heavy rain (which i privately call "check rain" the heavy drop clearly bounce and drop again, so each drop is like a check mark )
and raining buckets.. which is very heavy, and finally
sheet rain.
sheet rain is a wall of water, sometimes found on the leading edge of thunder storm, it is sometimes so heavy, your car windshield wipers can't deal with it!

and this is just wet rain.. not counting hail (not to common in NY even with thunder storms, i have never seen hail much bigger than large peas.)
and sleet, and ice... and snow.. and there must be words for fog...

last week the i almost had an accident, the rain was hitting the front hood of my car, and dancing there for a minute as a drop.. the car hood was just hot enough to create a water vapor barrior, and the drops dances, as they do on hot pan or griddle, before being vaporized themselves. it was hard not to watch them.

my other obsession

#84462 - 10/23/02 06:24 PM Re: precipataion
Wordwind Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 6296
Loc: Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
Raining cats and dogs wouldn't be as heavy as sheet rain.

My favorite expression of rain--and definitely in the hard rain category--is the gullywasher. There is a bright day, and suddenly the rain comes down in torrents. The gullies and gutters fill quickly, and then, just as suddenly, the gullywasher has bellied up. I like seeing gullywashers just to have an excuse to say gullywasher. Maybe I should put this term on Raven's Tripping thread!

But how do I define rain? Sure, the misty rain qualifies as rain, but when the atmosphere is simply heavy with humidity and even mist, I wouldn't call that rain. I like my rain, misty or otherwise, to perceptively fall. However, that's just my take.

Raining pitchforks sounds like painful rain--rain falling so hard, it causes a stinging sensation in the flesh. Definitely not a "Singin' in the Rain" kind of rain.

The coolest name for fog I know is pogonip, the fog that contains frozen moisture that can actually kill. People who live in the pogonip regions of the US know to run inside when a pogonip arrives. Deadly.

#84463 - 10/24/02 08:16 AM Re: precipataion
Bean Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 1156
I'm sure I've mentioned this one before but in Newfoundland we get weather forecasts of "RDF" = Rain, Drizzle, and Fog. And it is precisely that. I've started to differentiate between raining and non-raining fogs but I have no nice words for them.

In late July, it can be warm and foggy and drizzly all at the same time, and the Newfoundland word for this is mauzy. It is also called capelin weather because during weather like that, the capelin "come in", and it's a great time to see whales (who come to eat capelin). You don't even need a boat, they're right below you as you stand on the cliffs.

Then on the sea during the winter you can have slob ice which is a slushy mixture of ice and water.

My husband and I differentiate between cold and warm snow. The cold snow, which we rarely get in Newfoundland (but is the standard in Winnipeg) crunches under your feet. The warms snow just goes "schlup".

#84464 - 10/24/02 10:22 AM Re: precipataion
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
Dear of troy: here is a good URL about hailstone formation:

Once when our carpool was going home at about 4:45 PM, we saw a thundercloud ahead, and
just a few monents later hailstones the size of golfballs were hitting the windshield, threatening to
shatter it. I have read that rising air currents may delay fall of stones and build up extra
layers on them. I have read about military pilots having to eject at high altitudes and having
rising air currents actually causing them to be lifted up quite a ways.

#84465 - 10/25/02 05:17 AM Re: precipataion
RhubarbCommando Offline

Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 2204
Raining cats and dogs wouldn't be as heavy as sheet rain
- but you'd have to watch that you didn't step in a poodle.

My favourite word for that really fine rain which is really not much more than a fog but which soaks you through, is "Scotch Mist."

The Scots, themselves, call such weather "dreich" (pronounced "dreek", more or less.)

#84466 - 10/26/02 09:41 PM Re: precipataion
Jackie Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11613
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Somebody somewhere (!) coined mizzle, for a precip. that is partway between mist and drizzle, I think. WW, I too like a rain that falls with understanding...

#84467 - 10/27/02 06:49 AM Re: mizzle
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
In Ithaca we call it wet sunshine.

#84468 - 10/27/02 11:00 AM Re: precipataion
FishonaBike Offline

Registered: 10/11/00
Posts: 1346
Loc: Sussex, England
Somebody somewhere (!) coined mizzle

Quite an old word, Jackie (certainly been around since I was a child ), and is common where it's common -

#84469 - 10/27/02 01:00 PM Re: precipatation
bonzaialsatian Offline

Registered: 09/27/02
Posts: 261
Loc: London/Prague
i have never seen hail much bigger than large peas.)[...]and there must be words for fog...

I haven't either (about the hail), though I have heard of thick fog being described as a pea-souper.

#84470 - 10/28/02 07:45 PM pea-souper
FishonaBike Offline

Registered: 10/11/00
Posts: 1346
Loc: Sussex, England
I have heard of thick fog being described as a pea-souper

I'd presume incorrectly so these days, bonzai - pea-soupers were fairly specifically thick fogs mixed with smoke from thousands of (old) coal fires, as you used to get in London. Nasty stuff.


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