The Beaufort Rain Scale (after Miles Kingston)
Force 0: Complete Dryness.
- Absence of rain from the air.
The gap between two periods of wet.
Associated Phrase: "it looks like it might rain."
Force 1: Scotch Mist.
- Presence of wet in the air, hovering rather than falling.
You can feel damp on your face. but if you supinate your hand,
nothing lands on it.
Associated Phrase: "i think it's trying to rain."
Force 2: Individual drops.
- Individual drops of rain falling, but quite separate as if they
are all freelance and not part of the same corporate effort.
If switched on now, windscreen wipers make an awful screeching
noise. Spectacle wearers begin to grumble. A newspaper being
read outside begins to speckle.
Associated Phrase: "it's spitting."
Force 3: Fine Rain.
- Raindrops falling together now, but still invisibly, like the
spray which drifts off a fountain with the wind behind. Ignored
by all sportsmen except Test cricketers, who dash for cover.
Spectacle wearers walk into oncoming traffic. Windscreen
wipers, when switched on, make the windscreen totally opaque.
If being read outside, a newspaper gets damp.
Associated Phrases: "is it worth putting the umbrella up?"
and "another fine rain you've gotten us into."
Force 4: Visible Light Shower.
- Hair starts to congeal around ears. First rainwear appears.
People start to remember washing left out. Ignored by all
sportsmen except Wimbledon players, who dash for cover.
A newspaper being read outside starts to tear slightly.
Associated Phrases: "it's starting to come down now,"
"it won't last," and "it's settled in for the day now."
Force 5: Drizzle.
- Shapes beginning to be visible in rain for the first time,
usually drifting from right to left. Windscreen wipers are too
slow at slow speed, too fast at fast speed. Shower-proof
rainwear turns out to be shower-proof all right, but not
drizzle-proof. First damp feeling inside either shoes or
neckline. Butterflies take evasive action and begin to fly
straight. A newspaper being read in the open starts to
turn to pulp.
Associated Phrases: "it's really chucking it down now,"
"it's raining cats and dogs," and "nice for the farmers."
Force 6: Downpour.
- You can see raindrops bouncing on impact, like charter planes
landing. Leaves and petals recoil when hit. Anything built of
concrete begins to look nasty. Eyebrows become waterlogged.
Horse racing called off. Wet feeling rises above ankles and
starts for knees. Butterflies fly backwards. A newspaper being
read in the open divides into two. Gardeners watering the
flowers begin to think about packing it in.
Associated Phrases: "it's coming down in stair rods,"
and "it's bucketing down."
Force 7: Squally, Gusty Rain.
- As Force 6, but with added wind. Water starts to be forced up
your nostrils. Maniacs leave home and head for the motorway in
their cars. Butterflies start walking. Household cats and dogs
become unpleasant to handle. Cheaper clothes start to come to bits.
Associated Phrases: "it's pissing down now," and "there's
some madman out in the garden trying to read a newspaper."
Force 8: Torrential Rain.
- The whole world outside has been turned into an en suite douche.
It starts raining inside umbrellas. Windscreen wipers become
useless. The ground looks as if it is steaming. Butterflies drown.
Your garments start merging into each other and becoming
indistinguishable. Man reading newspaper in the open starts to
disintegrate. All team games except rugby, football, and water
polo called off.
Associated Phrase: "jesus, will you look at that coming down."
Force 9: Cloudburst.
- Rain so fierce that it can only be maintained for a minute or two.
Drops so large that they hurt if they hit you. Water gets
into your pockets and forms rock-pools. Windscreen wipers are
torn off cars. Too wet for water-skiing. Instantaneous rivers
form on roads, and man reading newspaper floats past. Rain runs
Force 10: Hurricane.
- Not defined inland - the symptoms are too violent and extreme (cars
floating, newspaper readers lost at sea, people drowned by inhaling
rain, etc.). So, if hurricane conditions do appear to pertain, look
for some other explanation.
Associated Phrases: "oh my god, the water tank has burst - it's
coming through the kitchen ceiling," and "i think the man upstairs
has fallen asleep in his bath."
This was copied (and slightly modified) from a many-times-duplicated
FAX-page which has been making the rounds. It appears to have originated
with one of our Cousins Across the Pond, in courtesy to whom I have not
entirely removed all references to things like windscreens and Test cricket.
If that makes this document incomprehensible to you, check carefully --
it may be raining into your mouth, to your eventual detriment (see
a dictionary of American slang for the definition of "frog-strangler").
I have recently discovered another level of rain, documented
by Terry Pratchett (who is one of my favorite authors, largely
because of his incredibly witty descriptions):
"...merely an upright sea with slots in it."
My home page
By: Peter W. Meek
Net-sig: --Pete <email@example.com>