Monday, January 24, 2011

Rain Facts and Why I Like to Watch Rain

It rained again today while me and my officemates are having lunch and I just rediscovered my forgotten fascination with the sound of heavy pouring rain.  Yes, I know that we've had a lot of really bad experience with heavy rain, and I personally have plenty even starting in 2001 with Typhoon Juan.  It's probably the adrenalin rush that I get from the loud rain and howling wind that really makes me excited and really just fascinated with stormy weather.  There are others like me who just want to watch the rain as it comes down with all of its destructive yet tantalizing powers, just staring at the flooded gutters, over-flowing narrow street canals, and slowly rising water level in front of their own houses.  Watching rain to me is like watching the waves of the ocean.  How they pounce to the shore and gather up in the sea to come back to the shore again, and again...  It has a calming effect, but I know too well that, like a zoo keeper fond of the lions he keeps, I watch rain in awe and respect for the many positive and negative things it can do that may affect me directly or indirectly.  And in all things, looking for more information brought about curiosity and fascination is something normal, but for a lot of people, studying rain means knowing thine enemy.

Here are some facts connected to rain that I've gathered from all over the net:

1)  Raindrops aren't shaped like this (photo above), they're shaped like that as they are falling. (Photo Credit)
2)  Rain starts off as ice or snow crystals at cloud level.
3)  Rainfall is classified as light if not more than 0.10 inch per hour, and heavy if more than 0.30 inch per hour.
4)  Rain drops can fall at speeds of about 22 miles an hour.
5)  The statue of Liberty is “melting” (and turning green) due to acid rain as it is made out of copper. The acid dissolves the copper and discolors it.
6)  The biggest raindrops on Earth were recorded over Brazil and the Marshall Islands in 2004 รข€” some of them were as large as 10 mm.
7)  Mt. Waialeale in Kauai, Hawaii, has up to 335 - 350 rainy days every year.
8)  A rainbow was visible for 6 hours (from 9am to 6pm) at Wetherby, Yorkshire (UK) on 14 March 1994. This is rare as most rainbows last for only a few minutes.
9)  The wettest place in the world (based on the yearly average total) is Mawsynram, India, which receives an average of 11,870mm (474.8 inches) of rain each year. (Compared to 196.9 inches in the wettest part of the Philippines in terms of average rainfall.)
10)  Precipitation with low pH levels, or acid rain, is also a frequent risk produced by lightning.
11)  In Singing in the Rain (musical movie), the rain consisted of a mixture of water and milk so it would show up better on film but it caused Gene Kelly's wool suit to shrink. ^_^

Another set of weird facts about something and about me!

Regardless whether you like or hate the rain, fact remains that it's important to a lot of living things in the world (are there any that don't need rain directly or indirectly?) but it also can be the most dangerous of all predictable natural occurrences.  We know when it will happen (unlike earthquakes), we can predict its path (unlike tornadoes), know and feel the immediate devastation it can leave us with, but we can't prevent it.   It is an object of beauty and life yet also an object of disaster and death.  After the rain, the few drops make the plants glisten in the sun, a chance that rainbows appear, and make the flowers more appealing and romantic.  But, it can also make some scenes messy, muddy, dirty and devastating.  Such as the scenes from a landslide like the ones that just happened in Brazil.  My fascination with rain is not because it destroys, and not entirely just because it helps with life, but maybe because it's both.

Anne in Red.


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