Invisible from Space

I have a bone to pick with the Weather Gods, the Met Office and possibly the laws of physics, or at least those pertaining to the workings of the rain radar. Today it was definitely raining. It started off raining quite heavily, as forecast, and then it settled down into a fine, steady, pacing itself sort of rain, which was not in the forecast, the Met Office having predicted it to be ‘overcast’, easing to ‘cloudy’ later (and if anyone can explain to me the difference between ‘overcast’ and ‘cloudy’ without resorting to semantics I would be grateful). In fact, as the morning wore on into lunchtime, and the rain continued unabated, the Met Office continued to insist that it would not rain, and in fact it was not currently raining, wet stuff falling out of the sky or no wet stuff falling out of the sky. Nor was the rain radar any better, because it too apparently cannot see the sort of rain that the Weather Gods specialise in round here (I believe it’s known as a smirr; the Scots naturally have a complex taxonomy for rain although in my experience it all gets you equally wet in the end).

I had a paper to fetch, so having delayed as long as I possibly could, I finally convinced myself that it was clearing up, and headed out only to realise that yep, it was still raining and far from easing off, it was now getting steadily wetter. I was sufficiently soggy to attract attention in the shop (sample conversation: Me: I was hanging on in the hope that it would clear up as that was what the forecast said. Papershop Woman: (with some bitterness) What, in Papershop Village?) and what the Scots would call fair drookit by the time I’d got home.

So I think the Met Office needs to raise its game here and stop messing around with meaningless variations on degrees of cloudiness, while putting in some serious work around the detection, forecasting and distinction between a haar, scotch mist, dreich day and a smirr, or at the very least, let us know when it might actually stop…

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7 Responses to Invisible from Space

  1. Andy in Germany says:

    Isn’t cloudy where you can actually see blue sky, whereas overcast is just a great grey modge?

  2. Charles says:

    I am sure the govt in Botswana would pay for you to visit, as a rain goddess your talents are sorely needed.

  3. disgruntled says:

    @Andy – I would have said that if there’s blue sky around then that’s partly sunny, no?
    @Charles – I think we did once take our magical rain making tent to Botswana, and it rained…

  4. Paul M says:

    I think in Metoffice speak “overcast” means total cloud cover. They measure in “oktas”, ie eighths, so overcast means 8 okta, cloudy means 5-7 okta, partly cloudy is 2-4 okta, and scattered cloud is 1 okta. There is also a term used by pilots – “CAVOK” – which means Ceiling And Visibility OK – no cloud at low or medium levels, and visibility better than five miles.

  5. disgruntled says:

    Amazing what people know around here! Thanks

  6. […] the one which stubbornly refuses not only to correctly forecast the rain, but even to acknowledge that it is raining at all, is the one which correctly forecasts the fact that it will be hosing it down just as you are at […]

  7. […] think I have complained before about the relative invisibility of our typical South West Scotland pacing-itself mizzling type of […]

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