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OK, so the Eskimos have 40-odd names for snow (or not...)– but living outside the Arctic Circle the closest we usually get to snow is the somewhat wetter version – rain. Can’t quite manage that many, but here’s a start (feel free to add any others you can think of!) :

The type that begins with a couple of drops the size of gobstoppers infrequently hitting the ground, but quicker you can say "Oh bugger...", you're being engulfed by a deluge comparable to Bangladesh's monthly average rainfall during monsoon season.
Getting Wet Factor (GWF) : ***** Equivalent to jumping into a river fully clothed
Cool Factor (CF) : **** You may be wet, but hey, it was fun!
Best Observed : Sitting in a greenhouse with the deafening noise pounding all around. Alternatively, running naked around a field would probably be quite refreshing (assuming there's noone else around!)

Annoying light rain that invariably occurs when it's warm, so you end up either going out in a T-Shirt and getting wet from the rain, or wearing a coat and getting soaked from condensation!
GWF : *** Basically you're going to get wet whatever you do
CF : * Drizzle's sole purpose in life is to irritate. And irritate it does. Very well.
Best Observed : From indoors, whilst moaning about the pure crapness of the weather.

Windy Winter
Composed of driving sheets of horizontal, freezing bullets, it feels like your face is being attacked with a sandblaster. Common on walking expeditions up mountains, although it's almost impossible to see where you're going without risking permanent damage to your eyes from the impact of the drops.
GWF : ***** Guaranteed soaking in under 30 seconds
CF : **** Proper rain - makes you feel alive!
Best Observed : At the end of a hike, when you know that in 20 minutes time you'll be indoors in front of an open fire with a mug of hot chocolate!

A super-light version of drizzle, with drops so small that the only way you notice them is when they start to cloud over your specs. Probably nature’s poorest effort at rain, usually occurring in rural areas, and gives the appearance that everything is a couple of shades lighter than it actually is.
GWF : * Dampness skin-deep only
CF : * There is nothing cool about rain trying to be mist
Best Observed : Whilst looking at a nice landscape, as it gives a kinda eerie feeling to it

The depressing, steady rain that goes on for days and days and days without letting up. After a week or so you may catch a glimpse of a big yellow thing in the sky where there was just grey cloud before. This is the sun. Rejoice as the torment is almost over and you can finally take the dog out for a walk.
GWF : **** There’s no getting away from it – you’re going to have to go outside sometime
CF : ** Pain in the arse
Best Observed : The relentless pattering of rain on surfaces will either drive you mad after 72 hours, or put you into a hypnotic trance. Best to hide away until it’s all over.

Picture the scene: You leave the house in the morning – the sky is blue, the sun is shining, everything seems perfect. You go to lectures, eagerly awaiting the end of them so you can go outside and make the most of the weather…only to find that in the 40 minutes it’s taken Prof Schroedinger to explain the particulate nature of light, the world has fast forwarded 4 hours to reveal a scene reminiscent of the Somme, with dark skies, strong winds and heavy rain. Mysteriously by the time you’re ready to go home, the blue skies have reappeared and the only memories of what just happened are rapidly shrinking puddles and a pleasant wet-tarmac smell lingering in the air.
GWF : **** Best avoided, otherwise another memory will be the wet clothes you’re wearing on the way home
CF : ***** Full points for ability to carry out two major weather changes in such a short space of time!
Best Observed : Through the window of a lecture theatre, although you’ll never see the process begin or end…

…and you thought rain was just rain!

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