Rain: Is it mizzling, grizzerable or siling down?

The Beaufort Scale was devised in 1806 to estimate wind speed by describing its effects, from zero - smoke rises vertically - to 12 - causing violence and destruction. After what seems like the wettest drought on record, BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House has come up with its own scale to gauge the dampness of a British summer day, using colloquial terms suggested by its listeners. And presenter Kevin Connolly wonders why there are so few official terms to describe the rain.


1. Not Raining

Outdoor furniture is erected cautiously in gardens and on balconies.


2. Mizzling

Light to moderate rummaging takes places in rucksacks for cagoules and pac-a-macs.

Women on way to hairdressing appointments proceed apprehensively without umbrellas.

Yellow cagoule-clad sightseer at Stonehenge

3. Grizzerable

Overseas players on county cricket teams are surprised to discover that they're required to continue playing.

Cricket ball floating in puddle

4. Woodfiddly Rain

Outdoor furniture is brought back indoors.

Lips are pursed.

Garden furniture seen through rain-splattered window

5. Mawky

Aggressive hawkers selling fold-up umbrellas appear outside railway stations and shopping centres.

Women on way back from hairdressers form impatient queue.

Union Jack umbrella

6. Tippling Down

Garden furniture is returned to garden centres in hope of getting money back.

Customer with receipt

7. Luttering Down

Fingers drummed on indoor furniture.

Eyes rolled.

Tuts tutted.

Couple looking out window at rain

8. Plothering Down

Irritating displays of supposedly barbecue-friendly foods are removed from the entrance areas of supermarkets.


9. Pishpotikle Weather

Rain intensifies.

Women with newly-done hair find aggressive hawkers have disappeared when they take defective umbrellas back in search of a refund.

Woman struggles with umbrella

10. Raining Like a Cow Relieving Itself

Cows relieve themselves.

Cow seen from behind

11. Raining Stair-rods

Any garden furniture not taken indoors floats away.

Reporters on 24-hour news channels began using word torrential and holding their hands out with their palms upturned.

People in suits check for rain with hands

12. Siling Down

Hardy British holidaymakers are finally driven from beach at Herne Bay.

Garden furniture begins appearing on eBay.

Water companies introduce hosepipe bans, pointing to dry spell five years ago.

Beachgoer at Herne Bay

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