Thursday, 31 January 2008

Why water can get lost

The weather is an all important controller of our lives. Generally if we're indoors all week, then it will really only affect how many jackets/scarves/gloves we put on.
For others it is more important, affecting what they do that day; if they can go to sea, if they can ride their bike, if they can fly a kite, if they can test their new umbrella design... you get the idea. For these people, especially the umbrella architects, rain is one of the most important features of the weather. And yet the reporting of it is awful. Really amateur compared to the other weather fields.
It seems that the wetness department of the Met Office is really the "underachievers' class" of all the departments. The temperature are the boffins. They delivery accurate temperatures on an hour by hour basis to the nearest degree centigrade. They have a backup system for the elderly and the American (Fahrenheit). They even have a great get-out clause:
"It's cold out" grumble the bemused prol. "Ah", replies the heat-analyst, "that'll be the windchill factor". What a wonderful excuse for inaccuracies. Blame another department.
The rain-tellers don't have any such excuse. Moreover, they have no accurate way of telling us what's happening, or what will happen. When the thermo-men tell us it will be 19 degrees we all go, "ooh, I'll get to wear my new light weight jacket and take a bottle of water with me to the roller-derby".
The nearest that the waterfallers can say is "today will be 4 inches."


Utter-unashamed-useless. I have no use for that fact. It's like the cloud students saying "Today there will be 98.9% solar photon penetration." Yep, thanks.

But there is no other system. Clouds are a bit vague, but that's ok. We don't mind hearing it will be "mostly overcast with sunny spells". We can still plan our day. Nothing is accurately based on cloud plans. So water fallings are given an absolutely useless measuring system based on length. Because length and water go together like chocolate and Jupiter.

I am not even knowledgeable on where this measuring system came about or how it works. I like to think that it came around from a lord Inch, who said "I am bored of getting wet due to a misunderstanding of what 'quite wet out' actually means!". So he created a scale where 1 was enough to make your hair frizz, and 10 is underwater. From here it would be easy to scale the points in between. Here is my attempt.

1 - like noticing you have a fizzy drink on the table when a little bit flies out and lands on you
2 - like being sat on by a wet cat
3 - like standing under a sweaty person
4 - like jumping on a trampoline after its been raining
5 - like being squirted by one of those water sprays that hairdressers use
6 - like opening the door on a dish washer before its finished
7 - like standing on the curb by a busy wet road
8 - like taking a shower
9 - like taking a power shower
10 - like taking a bath

Its easy and everyone can relate (especially 3).

No comments: