* yes, there should be FIVE sets of boots but Allen ignored my advice to get adequate rain gear...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Irish Weather

In specific, Irish weather reports.

One of my favorite things to do at 7 am (and the competition is admittedly slim) is to check the weather report.  The Irish have a real flair for weather reports.  This is important as the climate here is actually fairly static.  Since we have been here nighttime lows have been around 8-10 and daytime highs no more than 18 with it generally being around 15-16.  In American, that's overnight lows in the mid-40s with highs in the 60s.  And, most days are gifted with some form of precipitation.

On the plus side, you know those dear little wicker hanging flower baskets that look so tempting in April but you know that you will have to water them once (or maybe twice) a day come late June?  This is what they look like in Ireland, in July, with no tending to speak of.

The American weather reports for Dublin make the weather sound stunningly dull as well as not giving any terribly useful information.  In short, it reports highs around 60 and rain.

I need to know if there is any point in hanging out the laundry; if we should make a go for the playground; if today (in early August) I should probably just turn on the heat for an hour or two.  To figure that out, I need Irish forecasting.

First, they offer a mid-day temperature rather than a high in their quick reports.  This is quite helpful when sunset is around 10 pm.  It isn't uncommon for us to hit the high as we are eating dinner or even after the children have gone to bed.  Second, the Irish know how to craft a wonderfully worded weather report.  The fact is that it will rain.  Some places may need 50 words for snow.  Ireland needs 50 words for precipitation, another 50 for air currents, and a final bunch for cloudy (the Irish Cloud Appreciation Society is here).  There are light rains, passing rains, locally thundery rains, wet starts clearing to showers, persistent rains, mists and (a personal favorite) "times when the showers merge to give longer spells of rain."  The winds are light, fresh, breezy, blustery, and strong.  The Irish are not under any illusions that meteorology is a science, firmly embracing it as an art.  Missing are the American percentages and formulated definitions.  Predictions are for around tea time, midday, early and late with no attempt to do an hourly forecast.  Bets are always hedged.  My husband tweeted (@mackenab):

Typical Dublin forecast: "There will be some bright spells for much of the afternoon but there will be occasional showers also, some heavy."

The end result is that you've read a forecast which somehow manages to tell you nothing definitive.  It is not uncommon to realize that the weather prediction boils down to cloudy but maybe sunny with light or maybe heavy rain, probably in the afternoon but maybe not.  Somehow, this still leaves you feeling reasonably informed and much more so that the more certain and scientific type. If the morning will be have a fresh wind followed by showers with some passing heavy bands, it's certainly worth going to the park and probably worth hanging the laundry as long they happen in the morning and much more helpful than partly cloudy with a 40% chance of rain.

1 comment:

  1. Gotta love poetic and lyrical weather reports :-) Very much enjoyed reading this!