Shakespeare used this biting line to refer to the brain of a dim-witted character in As You Like It. But it would also fit the bill if you were describing Shanghai’s present weather.
For a meteorological phenomenon with a name based on precipitation, the “Plum Rain” season (mei yu or 梅雨) has been decidedly dry this year — i.e., not a single drop has fallen from the skies. According to this report, the season officially began last Saturday, but as Shanghaiist woke up today to another fine yet hazy sky — six days into the Plum Rain — we’ve started to wonder whether the weathermen have got it wrong. After all, the season only lasts for about 20 days, yet it’s supposed to “account for up to 40 percent of the rain to fall in Shanghai for the entire year.” If that’s the case, we recommend not hanging out your washing for the next fortnight: she’s going to belt down.
Perhaps the conditions for determining the official start of the Plum Rain need to be adjusted. The presence of actual rain might be one factor that the meteorologists could keep in mind. Not wispy clouds or a low-pressure system off the coast or cows lying down in a field, but real, watery droplets splashing on the leafy trees of Hengshan Lu or the umbrellas on the Bar Rouge terrace. Or perhaps Shanghai’s Meteorological Bureau just needs to make it rain.
Not that we particularly want the heavens to open. Not if we’re looking to get a taxi home from work.
For the record, Shanghai receives an average annual rainfall of around 330cm: not quite as much as the sodden city of Cherrapunji in India (1290cm a year), but a whole bunch more than Chile’s Atacama Desert (a millimetre a year, if it’s really lucky).