Tuesday, December 05, 2006

What's the difference between "mostly sunny" and "partly cloudy"?

Who's asking: Richard Bostwick, Hallowell (or is that North Hallowell?), ME

You know, I always assumed that there was a difference -- but guess what? Not really. Meteorologists can and do use "mostly sunny" and "partly cloudy" to describe the same set of weather conditions, depending on their mood and the time of day. ("Mostly sunny" doesn't work at night.) They may be more likely to use "mostly sunny" if the weather is clearing, and more likely to use "partly cloudy," if things are getting overcast, but otherwise it's a half-empty/half-full decision.

I don't know why I assumed that predicting the weather was a more exact science than that.

Anyway, today is mostly sunny, before more snow comes tomorrow and Thursday. The thinnest of ice skins is starting to show up on the Kennebec, and last night's low temperature of 18 was too cold even for Dizzy.

The happiest of birthdays today to Mr. Ashton LeBourgeois, who grows daily more distinguished-looking.


Paul Tomme said...

"Partly cloudy" is an official NOAA term of art. It is one of four basic sky conditions: (1) "Clear", meaning no clouds, abbreviated CLR, and symbolized by a circle unshaded; (2) "Partly Cloudy", meaning more sky than clouds, abbreviated PTLY CLDY, and symbolized by a circle one-fourth shaded; (3) "Broken", meaning more clouds than sky, abbreviated BKN, and symbolized by a circle three-fourths shaded; and (4) "Overcast", meaning no sky, abbreviated OVC, and symbolized by a circle totally shaded.

When you encounter weather conditions so pretty that you are moved to recite Psalms 118:24, we call that severe clear, with heavy sunshine.

JIM LAMB said...

I am home at last! The only mercy about this trip is that John Candy is dead.

I didn't have my computer with me so I'm catching up on my e-mail and blogs.

The guy I'd like to add to my hit list with snowballs and maybe horse manure is Jim Webb, soon to be Senator from Virginia. I am ashamed to say that we went to the same college. I have been out of touch while traveling and I just heard of the boorish way he behaved at the White House. He does know better. If that place could teach a Bronx street guy like me manners, they should have been able to teach him.

George Allen is an amiable dunce, but Jim Webb is an evil weasel. I think I' going to miss George.

Here is a question that I found on a blog about the French moslem riots which appear to be flaring up again. "If a LIthuanian like me can find a job in France, why can't a French moslem?" THE BLOG WAS IN ENGLISH.

I think there is no answer to that question that won't get us all in trouble.

Love, Dad

AnswerGirl said...

Ah... very interesting! I guess NOAA has no use for "mostly sunny"...

Anonymous said...

Tomorrow's forecast in Los Angeles is "plentiful sunshine" -- I think I want that as my epitaph.