John Wheeler: Some descriptive weather words make no sense

3 months ago

FARGO — When we get a lot of snow at once, we call it “heavy snow.” But are we actually referring to its weight or it’s density in the air? Snow can be heavy to shovel, but sometimes what fell as heavy snow is pretty light. It is hard for rain to be heavy because rain is a liquid and therefore hard to hold and weigh. Hard rain fails as well because once rain becomes hard it can be heavy but it is no longer rain. Hard rain is ice.

Then there’s heavy wind and heavy fog. Linguistically, these make about as much sense as heavy cold and heavy heat. What all of these things really are is the opposite of light, and the opposite of light is heavy when weight is concerned, but weight is not what we are really talking about with rain, wind, fog, and to be fair, snow. The words we use to describe weather can be as funny as the weather itself.…Read more by John Wheeler


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