Friday, January 17, 2014
It's rained every day this year.
It's rained enough to flood Surrey, enough to close the Thames Barrier 13 times in succession, enough to make us forget what dry weather is.
But just how wet is it when it rains?
We don't have a readily accepted way of measuring how hard it's raining. There's no recognised indication in the weather forecast of quite how heavy a downpour will be, whether it'll lightly spot your shoes or drench you to the skin. "Millimetres per hour" is a bit too technical, and "wet", "very wet" and "extremely wet" is far too subjective. What I believe we need is a common scale on which to measure rainfall intensity, something everybody understands.
So I'd like to propose the following twelve point rating, a bit like the Beaufort Scale for wind, but for rain.
The Rainforce Scale
Force Classification Atmospheric Effects 0 Dry State of rainlessness; Picnics a genuine possibility; Hosepipe ban likely 1 Droplet People look quizzically at the sky in case a pigeon has deposited on them 2 Sprinkle Only ladies who've just been to the hairdressers get their umbrellas out 3 Drizzle Cricket matches terminate; Initial signs of rummaging for kagoules 4 Shower Umbrellas appear mysteriously in tubs near the door of small shops 5 Light Rain Barbecues withdraw indoors; Weddings ruined; Cinema owners rub their hands 6 Rain Village fête stallholders wish they'd laminated their signage, as attendees flee 7 Heavy Rain Spectacles become opaque; T-shirts become transparent 8 Downpour Those without waterproof protection start to look silly rather than stoical 9 Cloudburst Strangers hide under shop awnings and strike up unprompted conversations 10 Tipping down People decide to stay at work for another half hour rather than leave the office 11 Deluge Gene Kelly seen gyrating round lamppost; Smokers give up and return to the pub 12 Monsoon Noah seen building ark; Climate change deniers tut and say it proves nothing
Unless you could do better.
...or read more in my monthly archives
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