Weather Notebook Correspondent Ann Thurlow today looks at weather terminology on both sides of the Canadian border.
“Much is made, in this country at least, of the differences - or the similarities - between the United States and Canada. We are different, we protest. We're not just Americans who live up north. But the similarities are overwhelming...the differences subtle. Until it comes to weather. Sure we bake under the same sun and splash through the same rainstorms. But thanks to the metric system, 20 degrees means a nice, mild day. If the wind is blowing at 30, you'll feel it ruffle through your hair, but you won't have to hold you hat. And having lived in both countries, I'd have to say that Canadians are a little more sanguine about snowstorms. Up here, our snow falls in centimeters and a snowstorm is something to be faced with ruddy good humor and the old pioneer spirit. It's a day off, maybe, or an occasion to remember when the snow was piled higher than the roof of your car. But if you really want to know which country you're in, listen to a weather forecast when the skies are cloudy. The US forecaster will promise a few sprinkles. The Canadian will predict rain, giving slight amounts. Now to my ear, sprinkles sound like something you put on a cake. To my American brother, the idea of “rain, giving slight amounts” sounds stuffy and a bit ludicrous. I'm not sure that says anything important about the difference between the two countries. But it does tell me that, when it's raining at least, I know right where I am.”
Ann Thurlow is a commentator
for CBC Radio in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. The Weather Notebook
is produced in cooperation with New Hampshire Public Radio, funded by the
National Science Foundation and underwritten by Subaru, the beauty of all