Rain, Rain du jour

The weather is the topic of the day. California weather is setting records for most number of rainy days in, say, March. Last I heard, it was up to 24 days of rain out of 31. And it’s rained every day since. We don’t have the Severe Weather Threat found in the Midwest forecast (large hail and tornado damage). The perpetually gloomy 10-day forcast here follows, and thanks ever so much to weather.com for bringing this to your doorstep:

Showers, Rain, AM Showers, Rain, Few Showers, Rain, Partly Cloudy, Cloudy, Showers and Partly Cloudy.

The weatherman can probably expound for hours on the exact shades of meaning behind “rain” and “showers”. If ordinary English is underlying the meteorological meaning, I know that “showers” implies “sporadic”, where (by contrast) “rain” implies a more or less continuous downpour.

It never rains forty days and forty nights here, as I hear they claim it does in Seattle. So, in the Bay Area, I think they just interchange “rain” and “showers” to make us think the weather is going to have some sort of variability that the average person is remotely likely to ever detect.

Naturally, if you can forecast “Rain” (Fri Mar 31), it sounds like you have really refined the art if you can say “AM Showers” (Sat Apr 1) follow. Now, on Sunday April 2 the forecast jumps back to “Rain”.

What I want to know is, what happens in the afternoon between “AM Showers” and “Rain”? Do we get “PM Showers”, or does it just start raining steadily after the AM Showers taper off? Do they really know, or are they just saying that to make us feel good?

This is the sort of stuff that drives amateur astronomers indoors to their keyboards and cloudynights.com.

In the spirit of “truth in advertising” (the weather page being sponsored by The Weather Channel), I propose they re-phrase the entire 10-day forecast to read:


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