A Seattleite has suggested a better way to forecast the rain

Feb 7 2020, 1:02 pm

Imagine waking up in the morning, checking your weather app and seeing that there’s a light prickling drizzle making the roads slippery.

Looking at this, you decide not to drive today, as transit will suffice. You also decide from this alert that a raincoat is unnecessary, and instead you whip out your rarely used umbrella and leave the house with your head held high.

We Seattleites know best that there are differences in the rain we get out here in the PNW. Some days we get more of a mist, while other days have us feeling like we’re stuck in the middle of a hurricane.

Isn’t it time that we have an app or system that tells us what type of rain we’re going to be faced with on any given day?

This exact idea is what Stephanie May shared on Twitter earlier this week. She may have just come up with the next best thing in forecasting, with a little help from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

May displayed what the weather forecast looked like from her iPhone: the temperature, what time the rain was set to begin, and weather predictions for the rest of the week. She showed that the iPhone weather app truly lacks any descriptor of what kind of rain we’d be faced with.

May also included a screenshot from a Wiki page dedicated to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which describes a book that character Rob McKenna had written, including his take on 232 different types of rain.

The Wiki page cleverly lists out these examples for various types of rain:

  • Type 11: breezy droplets
  • Type 17: dirty blatter (McKenna’s least favourite type)
  • Type 33: light pricking drizzle which made the roads slippery
  • Type 39: heavy spotting
  • Type 47: vertical light drizzle
  • Type 51: sharply slanting light to moderate drizzle freshening
  • Types 87 and 88: two finely distinguished varieties of vertical torrential downpour
  • Type 100: post-downpour squalling, cold
  • Type 123: mild cold gusting
  • Type 124: intermediate cold gusting
  • Type 126: regular cab-drumming
  • Type 127: syncopated cab-drumming
  • Types 192 to 213: seastorm types
  • Type 232: Bucketing down

Wouldn’t life be so much easier if we had a system like McKenna’s? Stephanie May, you may be onto something.