What's 'bad weather,' anyway?

What's 'bad weather,' anyway?
Source: reusableart.com

Now that you’ve read that headline, what kind of weather are you thinking of? I’m thinking of the stifling humidity and heat that comes to mind (and to the rest of me) when July rolls around.

This is the kind of weather that makes me remember former co-workers who’d get in arguments with me on afternoons like these. They’d told me it was “nice and warm” out, and I found 80 degrees and humidity “to match” at 80 percent. On other days, I’d told them it was too hot, really nasty out, and they said it was beautiful. (Editor’s note: It was still 80 or worse.)

As a cliche goes around my friends and family, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate clothing.” A lot of the bad qualities of weather come from being too cold, too hot, or too soaked (see illustration).

I’m sure that my friend and fellow blogger Weather Girl will have more technical data about some sorts of bad weather, but I remember her posting wise advice about dressing for weather.

I own two sweaters that I haven’t worn in the past year or more because the weather has not been cold enough (and I haven’t been outside long enough) to make the sweaters usable. When the cold gets well below zero Fahrenheit (18 Celsius), then I get those sweaters out, one by one, and think “All right, cold weather, let’s roll.”

I have a long slicker for rainy weather and a billed cap — I won’t call it a baseball cap, although many people do, because it has the emblem of “my” Chicago Blackhawks on it, not one of the baseball teams. The cap’s fine for keeping the sun off during the summer and the rain off in the winter, but when cold and snow really set in, then it’s time for my tweed walking hat. Snowstorms, bright sun on snowdrifts, and Chicago’s coldest days have been little trouble since I got “the Hat” early in the century.

But all I can do to keep my head comfortable now, as the air reaches 85 Fahrenheit (30 C), is to put up my hair with combs and barettes. (I haven’t had a haircut since very early in 2020; one was due in March. Oh well!)

So if you want me to start writing or talking about bad weather, it’ll be easier for me to talk about fireworks and eggs-on-sidewalks heat, not blizzards and cozy sweaters.

It’s all in what you expect.

Filed under: Expressions


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  • Great post! Yes, it's not just the heat, it's the dew points, as the meteorologists say.

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    Thank you. Your colleagues in weather do say a lot.

  • fb_avatar

    zapped by internet -- where was I? oh yes --
    umbrella good for shade too --left mine somewhere

  • In reply to William Bowen:

    Thanks for stopping by. I hope your umbrella turns up soon!

  • Anything here other than 72 degrees and sunny is, but there wouldn't be any life on earth without the other types.

  • In reply to jack:

    That's an interesting perspective, Jack. Thanks.

  • You neglected one determinant of bad weather; one that a sailor would list first--wind. That is what makes hurricanes, tornadoes, cyclones and March mornings in the Loop so miserable, not the temperature, nor even necessarily the moisture.

  • In reply to jnorto:

    Well caught, jnorto. The wind can make any morning in the Loop a rough one, but you're right, March is especially miserable. Of course, it's also a sign of how long a particular weather will last.

  • Those who don't believe in bad weather should listen to "Stormy Monday."

    Margaret -- an aside: Howcum your posts sometimes don't show in the recent posts list of the splash page for this site?

  • In reply to Grundoon:

    Thanks, Grundoon. I'll look for that song.

    As for the recent posts, the things in the right panel on this page can vary. Try reading one, close it and bring it back, and the things in the right column can be switched. (I have seen it happen even when I know the headlines don't refer to something brand new.) As for the home page of the whole site (with only headlines), remember that's headed "Latest and Greatest from Chicagoans." Sometimes there are so many at a particular time that others get chosen ahead of mine, I do try to write headlines that will land me among the latest and greatest, but I hope everyone does. I like finding new writers there, and I know my musings about words aren't necessarily as timely as others' topics. Thanks for your concern, Grundoon.

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    I'll bet 99 out of 100 that the right pane is generated by the software, and depends on the category (Advice/Cubs/Politics, etc.) and the date. Latest and greatest are not subjective, but assigned by an automaton. For instance, I have commented about one of the denizens of the right pane, who is frequent, but whose 44 posts per month do not make the top 20 list, which list is probably a better barometer of "greatest," Grundoon.

  • In reply to jack:

    Thank you. The Top 20 list is based on nominations by bloggers -- one written by that person, one by another person.

  • In reply to Grundoon:

    Let me also say that what I said about the right pane also applies to the home page,

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