THE IRISH HAVE a large number of words for rain. And knowing exactly which word or phrase to apply at any time can be tricky – especially for newcomers.
With this in mind, we have prepared this scientific ordering, which we’re calling the Fliuch Scale. (It works like the Richter – so “Christ, I heard today was a 6.7 on the Fliuch Scale” and so on).
We’re hoping it will be adopted officially by Met Éireann in the near future. But until then: yes, the rain in Ireland goes up to 11.
Level 1: Grand soft day (thank God)
How to spot: Grey out, just a thick mist, not too cold, might rain later. In other words, conditions are normal.
Level 2: Spitting (or ‘only spitting’)
How to spot: Definitely raining, but sure it might clear up. It wouldn’t stop you nipping to the shops/going for a walk/having a picnic on a freezing beach on a family holiday, anyway.
Level 3: Wetting rain
How to spot: Looks deceptively innocuous – you’d think it was no more than a mist – but soaks through clothing and makes you screw up your face in an unattractive way while walking through it.
Is it worth taking an umbrella? Maybe, but you’ll only have to carry it round.
Level 4: Rotten
How to spot: All-over greyness. Possible windiness. Unrelenting rain that never turns into a good honest downpour, but is definitely umbrella material. The weather equivalent of a sulking teenager.
Level 5: Pissing
How to spot: Heavy-ish rain. Would definitely make you think twice about going into town for a few things. Windscreen wipers up to the second setting in the car.
Level 6: Raining stair rods
How to spot: Big, fat rain that really means it. Minor-league umbrellas (ie those €4 ones from Centra) may struggle. You have your good shoes ruined.
Level 7: Bucketing
How to spot: Heavy rain with a surprise element: “It started bucketing down.” Generally appears when you have planned some kind of outdoor activity.
You might sit in the car for a while to see will it ease off. It probably won’t.
Level 8: Hooring
How to spot: Windscreen wipers up to full. People scurrying between shop doorways. Someone probably holding a newspaper over their head, which is completely pointless and will ruin your newspaper.
Level 9: Pelting down
How to spot: Serious quantities of water falling from the sky. Enough of a conversation point that you will almost certainly compare damp patches with at least one work colleague. Lift dialogues will go like this: “Jaysus, the weather.” “I know, Jaysus.”
Level 10: Lashing
How to spot: Rain actually bouncing off the ground. Even medium-quality umbrellas are no protection. Their corpses lie strewn around the city streets.
Level 11: Hammering
How to spot: Even the Irish a bit taken aback by the force of it. People talk about it in hushed tones and you can see them struggling for a big enough word: “It’s absolutely lashing… no, I mean REALLY lashing… HAMMERING down.”
Don’t go outside. You’ll ruin yourself.
Any suggestions as to how the Fliuch Scale could be improved or added to? Leave ‘em in the comments!