Tuesday, August 30, 2011

If You Don't Like the Weather, Wait Five Minutes

One of my favorite trivial pursuits while I'm on the road is catching British weather reports and forecasts. They are masterful evocations of ambiguity.

Consider, for example, this recent summary, culled from London's Daily Telegraph:

"General Situation: An area of low pressure over the central part of the United Kingdom will bring scattered showers to England and Wales today. To the north, rain will fall during the afternoon across Scotland.''

Hmmm. Do you reckon this means it's going to rain today, except when it doesn't, all around the country, except in places where it remains dry?

Or consider this Outlook, from the same report:

"Scattered showers will occur across England and Wales on Sunday. Occasional rain will fall across Scotland. Spells of rain will fall across England on Monday. An isolated shower will occur on Tuesday.''

Hmmm again. Scattered showers, occasional rain, spells of rain, an isolated shower - four ways of saying the same thing, all swept into one short report.

Got to admit, it's a marvelous bit of writing in its not-exactly-precise way. And it certainly illustrates the old saying "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes.''

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