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What’s it called when you see rain in the distance?

by on June 25th, 2014

The other day a patron asked what the meteorological term for when you see rain falling in the distance. He said had a bet with a friend, and as I am more than happy to use information-seeking skills to stack the odds, I started searching. It turns out, as I learned, the term he was looking for was “virga.”

According to the National Weather Service, virga is actually “Precipitation falling from the base of a cloud and evaporating before it reaches the ground.” It’s common enough of a phenomenon that I could picture it when he asked, but if you don’t know what that looks like, check out this image from Wikipedia. 

640px-Nimbostratus_virga

Thanks to Simon Eugster for the wiki pic!

 

One Response to “What’s it called when you see rain in the distance?”

  1. Maeve says:

    Weather questions are the best. I can’t wait to use the word virga next time I see rain in the distance.

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About Melody Dworak

Melody Dworak
Melody buys books for the second half of the nonfiction Dewey numbers on the 2nd floor. She has recently been bitten by the fiction bug, but loves those historical reference questions regardless. Visit the digital collections she manages at icpl.org/zinio and history.icpl.org.