Thursday, 15 July 2010

St. Swithin - The Rain Man

Today is St.Swithin's day and my laundry has been on and off the line in equal measure, first showers then sunshine, then showers again until finally the sun won the day  - just like how life can be - remember that every cloud has a silver lining and I got the washing dry........ 

St. Swithin's day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St. Swithin's day if thou be fair
For forty days 'twill rain nae mair.

St Swithin's reputation is lost in legend with the only reliable information being that he was a trusted counsellor to the Wessex kings Egbert and Ethelwulf and was consecrated bishop of Winchester in the year 862. He was probably chosen for his rainmaker role, ascribed to St Medard in France and St Godelieve in Belgium, because his day coincides with the start of a recurring pattern in the weather.
St Swithin's Day was dry in 1995 and was followed by 38 days without rain. Ten years earlier it rained on 15 July and all 40 following days were wet.

There is a scientific basis to the legend of St Swithun's day. Around the middle of July, the jet stream settles into a pattern which, in the majority of years, holds reasonably steady until the end of August. When the jet stream lies north of the British Isles then continental high pressure is able to move in; when it lies across or south of the British Isles, Arctic air and Atlantic weather systems predominate.


1 comment:

  1. This was so interesting. Thank you for sharing this.

    ReplyDelete

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