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Rain – An Irregular Appreciation

March 21, 2018

Rain falling over desert at sunset – Jesse Eastland

The rain continued. It was a hard rain, a perpetual rain, a sweating and steaming rain; it was a mizzle, a downpour, a fountain, a whipping at the eyes, and undertow at the ankles; it was a rain to drown all rains and the memory of rains. It came by the pound and the ton, it hacked at the jungle and cut the trees like scissors and shaved the grass and tunneled the soil and molted the bushes. It shrank men’s hands into the hands of wrinkled apes; it rained a solid glassy rain, and it never stopped.
— Ray Bradbury, 1950: The Long Rain

Who’ll Stop the Rain? – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Long as I remember the rain been comin’ down
Clouds of mystery pourin’ confusion on the ground.
Good men through the ages tryin’ to find the sun.
And I wonder still I wonder who’ll stop the rain.
— Greg Gregory, IanMarsh & Martyn Ware, 1970

It rained and it rained and rained and rained
The average fall was well maintained
And when the tracks were simply bogs
It started raining cats and dogs.

After a drought of half an hour
We had a most refreshing shower
And then the most curious thing of all
A gentle rain began to fall.

Next day was also fairly dry
Save for a deluge from the sky
Which wetted the party to the skin
And after that the rain set in.
— Anonymous Tramper,  Fiordland, New Zealand, 1984

Cartoon by Charles Addams

For forty days and forty nights the rain came down like hell
It covered up everything in sight and everything else as well
Old Noah stood on the ark of the lord and loudly did exclaim
“I wonder where the damn fool is who said it wouldn’t rain.”
— College fraternity drinking song, circa 1940, learned at my father’s knee

1948 Release by Sister Rosetta Tharp, recording as Sister Katty Marie

Didn’t it rain, children?
Talk ’bout rain, oh, my Lord
Didn’t it, didn’t it, didn’t it, oh, my Lord?
Didn’t it rain?
Sister Rosetta Tharp, 1947 adaptation

Didn’t It Rain, Dave Van Ronk version, 1964

Greatest rainfall in 1 minute:
World: 1.50 inches (38 mm); Barot, Guadeloupe, West Indies; November 26, 1970 [5]
USA: 1.22 inches (31.2 mm); Unionville, Maryland; July 4, 1956 [5]

Greatest rainfall in 30 minutes:
World: 11.0 inches (280 mm); Sikeshugou, Hebei, China; July 3, 1974 [5]

Greatest rainfall in 1 hour:
World: 15.8 inches (401 mm); Shangdi, Nei Monggol, China; July 3, 1975 [5]
USA: 13.8 inches (351 mm); Burnsville, central West Virginia; August 4, 1943 [5]

Paris Street – Rainy Day, by Gustave Caillebotte (Google Art Project)

Greatest rainfall in 12 hours:
World: 55.1 inches (1400 mm); Mudoucaidang, Nei Monggol, China; August 1, 1977 [5]
USA: 34.3 inches (871 mm); July 18, 1942; Smethport, northwest Pennsylvania [4]

Greatest rainfall in 24 hours:
World: 71.9 inches (1.825 meters); Foc-Foc Réunion Island, southern Indian Ocean; January 7-8, 1966; following passage of Cyclone Denise. [1]
USA: 42.0 inches (1066 mm); Alvin, Texas; 7 a.m. July 24 to 7 a.m. July 25, 1979; when Tropical Storm Claudette stalled right over Alvin. [2]
California: 26.12 inches (663 mm); Hoegee’s Camp, San Gabriel Mountains, Los Angeles County; January 22 – 23, 1943; 1.8 miles SE of Mt. Wilson, 2 miles N of Sierra Madre. [3]

Alvin, Texas after the rain

Greatest rainfall in 48 hours:
World: 98.1 inches (2.493 meters); Cherrapunji, India ; June 15, 1995. [5]

Greatest rainfall in 15 days:
World: 240 inches (6.063 meters); Cratère Commerson, Réunion Island; January 14, 1980. [5]

After that, it’s Cherrapunji, India all the way.
1 month: 30.5 feet (9.3 meters); July, 1861. [5]
2 months: 41.9 feet (12.767 meters); June-July, 1861. [5]
3 months: 53.7 feet (16.369 meters); May-July, 1861. [5]
6 months: 73.7 feet (22.454 meters); April-September, 1861. [5]
12 months: 86.8 feet (26.470 meters); August 1860 – July, 1861. [5]
24 months: 133.7 feet (40.768 meters); 1860-1861. [5]

Cherripuji, India – wettest place on earth for awhile

Wettest place in the U.S.: Puu Kukui, west Maui Island, Hawaii [4]
Most rain in one year: 704.83 inches (58.74 feet), 1982
Most rain in one month: 101 inches (8.42 feet), March 1942
Highest average annual rainfall: 370 inches (30.83 feet)

World’s longest recorded dry period: 14 years 3 months (171 months); Arica, Atacama Desert, northern Chile; October 1903 to January 1918. [1]

The Dry, Dry Taklimakan Desert: Occupying the central part of the Tarim Basin in the Uygur Autonomous Region in Xinjiang, western China, the average annual precipitation in the basin ranges from 1.5 inches (38 mm) per year in the west to 0.4 inch (10 mm). One of the world’s largest sandy deserts and the second largest shifting sand desert. Nearly all surface water comes from snow melt from surrounding mountain ranges: Tien Shan to the north, Kunlun Mountains to the south, and Pamirs to the west. Mummies of Caucasians dating back 3,000 years have been found there, preserved almost perfectly by the extremely arid conditions and the dry, dry salty soil.

Sand dune expanse of Takla Maklan Desert (Al Goodrich –

[1]: CNN Travel
[3]  LA
[5] NOAA
[Chuck Almdale]

  1. Connie Day permalink
    March 23, 2018 2:45 pm

    Wonderful post, Chuck. Thanks!


  2. Edie Gralla permalink
    March 22, 2018 8:15 am

    I enjoyed this, and note that the record label for the Sister Katty Marie song, along with the text below, is a great example of how useful commas are in the English language.


    • Chukar permalink*
      March 24, 2018 1:00 pm

      Apropos your comma comment, here’s my favorite quote from Oscar Wilde:
      “I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.”

      I know the feeling.


  3. Susan Orenstein permalink
    March 21, 2018 9:28 pm

    Great Post! Thanks!


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