More New Words

We were in Derbyshire yesterday, and had a thoroughly miserable day. The weather was cold and grey with outbreaks of drizzle and, as we climbed higher, wintry showers.

And that is where the new words cut in. “Wintry showers” is, it seems, a term mainly used in the UK. It’s an undefined mix of rain, graupel and snow where the ground temperature is above freezing and nothing settles. In the USA, according to Wikipedia, a “wintry mix” is a mix ofΒ  freezing rain, ice pellets and snow that occurs when the ground is below freezing and things do settle.

I say “in the USA” with all the assurance that it’s one country, though now I come to think about it if you are reading this in New Mexico you probably aren’t that interested in snow.

On the subject of differences between the UK and USA, how about sleet? In the UK it’s another part of the rain/hail continuum, as it is in Canada. But cross the border into the USA, according to Wikipedia (and I stand to be corrected by residents of Maine) and sleet becomes ice pellets. For ice pellets and graupel (see – I didn’t forget) see this link.

I now know the difference between hail and ice pellets, where I never even knew there was a difference until this afternoon.

I think that’s enough for now. More on Derbyshire will follow once I have the pie in the oven…

24 thoughts on “More New Words

  1. Lavinia Ross

    I found a site by the National Snow & Ice Data Center you might enjoy while contemplating snowy weather.

    In my area, one has to be careful to listen to the elevation given with the snow report. Our farm is in the Cascade foothills, on the western side. At 800 feet, we don’t get much snow here. When we do, it usually does not last long, although I have seen exceptions to that.

    1. quercuscommunity

      That’s a great website – stuffed full of words I’ve never seen before. And I now know you get snow in the mountains around Death Valley. Thank you, I feel another post coming on.

  2. higgledypiggledymom

    Just to clarify…those in New Mexico especially in the mountains, like Taos do want the snow. They ski there.
    Noticed that my London kids are getting colder faster than they used to here in Wisconsin. Guess it’s acclimation. But when it’s always damp, the cold seeps into the bones (bone chilling) and even without snow it’s cold. I like snow for the garden-it’s an insulating blanket. And it’s just pretty.

      1. quercuscommunity

        I can never get my head round snow in hot places, even if it’s up a mountain. When I first found they had ski resorts in Australia I was unsettled for weeks. It’s not natural.

  3. Laurie Graves

    H-m-m-m. A big yes to “wintry mix,” but the use of “sleet” is more common than “ice pellets.” The words all Mainers dread to hear are “sleet and freezing rain.” Too much of that, and the power goes out.

      1. Laurie Graves

        Thanks! And speaking of hearing…when against our windows we hear the tick, tick, tick of sleet, pellets, wintry mix or whatever you want to call it, we know it is never a good thing.

  4. myfoodhunt

    Hi Simon,

    Yes having lived stateside for many years I now refuse to accept any moans about winter weather from us UK peeps πŸ™‚

    When there was a foot or two of snow outside in Chicago I rejoiced that the bloke next door had his own mini sit on snow plough that cut a path to the local corner bar. Yes we followed him and many people spent happy nights supping beer as a result.

    If it snowed, we just got the bus or the train to work and put on a bigger and warmer coat.

    Having said that, last winter I was in the Southern States of Carolina and if there was a frost the schools closed and the supermarkets were emptied of food the day before. I just put my boots on and walked to whatever place was open, usually the Chinese and the Mexican places were open serving me with awesome food (sorry that I said awesome), the middle class hipster spots were not. Just saying that to reinforce President Farts opinion on whether home grown people should prosper (or did I get that arse about face? πŸ™‚ )

    It is not even cold here so unless you haven’t got a coat…jeez πŸ™‚


    1. quercuscommunity

      I’m from northern England – of course I don’t have a coat. However, after a year in Africa I found myself putting a jumper on when winter came because the temperature got down to 21 degrees C (68 F). It’s all relative.

      If I win the lottery I’m going to live somewhere warm from October until April. πŸ™‚

      It’s not the cold so much as the damp – I remember walking down the street in Preston and I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I was dry.

      1. myfoodhunt

        So true, a damp cold is the worst! A dry cold you can take down well below zero with no problems. The you just layer up on top of the beer belly

      2. quercuscommunity

        If we had, snowmobiles, ice fishing and proper snow it would be OK but our winter is really just a long damp autumn.

        I envy you cosmopolitan types with your range of experience, your exotic meals and your wide experience of digestive malfunctions. πŸ˜‰

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