The Rains Doth Fall

They say the Eskimos have 50 different words for snow.  Well here in the PacNW, we have quite a few words for rain.  In the interest of enlightening those who don’t have the damn good luck to live here, I thought I’d share some of them, along with the approximate time it would take for an average human in average clothes to get an average soaking.  I will be using a highly scientific method to calculate this, taking into consideration the average permeability of natural fiber clothing, the estimated surface tension of rain drop inversely based on it size, and including a modest wind factor.  In other words, I’m just guessing.

  • Misting Rain: This is the rain that is really just a step up from fog.  You can sorta see it, but the drops are so fine they drift on the air, almost like snow.  Except it’s rain.  Not snow.  And it’s not very cold at all.  Time to soak: 30 mins-1 hour.
  • Sprinkles: This is actual rain, the drops tend to fall as expected unlike the misting rain, however the drops are still very small, and you almost think that if you were The Flash, you could probably dodge them if you could just see them coming. Time to soak: 15-25 mins.
  • Showers: These are just what they sound like.  Imagine that your standing in a shower, except you’re not in the shower.  You’re outside, and it’s not even one of those handy little camping showers.  You’re just standing there, outside, getting showered.  Time to soak: 5-10 mins.
  • Rain: Ok this is the flat out rain.  Solid, good sized drops, pretty thick and consistent.  The ol’ reliable Portland rain.  The kind of rain that makes trees drip and grow, and spreads moss like thick paint on everything that will hold still for just a few days.  The kind of rain that makes my dog smell like a wet dog in a matter of minutes.  But I kinda like the smell of wet dog.  It grows on you.  Like moss.  Time to soak: 1-2 mins.
  • Downpour:  This is the big one.  The doozy.  The whopper.  The big mac.  Moving away from fast food analogies, the big kahuna.  This is verging on southern type rain, the kind of rain that Portlanders only can dream about.  The kind that hits you like a hurricane, except without the wind and stuff.  Drenching, solid sheets of water.  The kind of rain that makes you go (no not ooooh) DAYUM.  Time to soak: instant.

So there you have it.  A short little primer, if you will, of Pacific NW rain types.  There are others, I’m sure!  Not to mention the combination types, like a misty shower, or a showery sprinkle.  In fact I’d call today’s rainfall a showery sprinkle.  I’d call it that, and start thinking about whether or not I still have all the ingredients for hot toddys in my cupboards, because much as I hate to say it, fall is a-comin.

Morgan’s Hot Toddy Recipe

1c hot water

Maker’s mark to taste (hehehe)

Spoonful or two of honey

Squeeze of lemon

Stir with a cinnamon stick if I’m feelin’ festive

Yep.  Aaaalll set there folks.


  1. Brent Logan says:

    Very nice. We don’t call it the Pacific Northwet for nothing. 🙂

    Today was a beautiful day with misting rain and sprinkles. Nothing worth an umbrella. That takes at least rain.

  2. Morgan says:

    Umbrella?! I don’t even *own* an umbrella!

    Ok actually I do. But don’t tell anyone. Besides, I never use it. Well, except during downpours, or maybe rain if I have a long way to walk. But that’s a big maybe. Besides, nothing a good solid rain jacket can’t shed, and I bought myself a fine little rain jacket last year!

    Now where did I put that rain jacket…

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