Rain sucks; it gets things wet. Snow sucks; it is cold and buries things. But wind is the worst weather.
I’ve been reflecting and paying a lot of attention to weather, what with the advent of the worst of climate change. I’m worried for everyone and everything over weather, which we can’t control, and fear some immediate future where there is no good weather, only extreme freezes and heat waves and nothing else. I try to appreciate and be mindful of any good, non-extreme weather we get; I note when it starts snowing too late in the season, or if it’s not getting hot fast enough, or whether the trees have already started flowering but are facing a sub-freezing night in the next week.
The other day, as I was being nearly blown of the sidewalk by a 40 mph “breeze” that had nothing to do with anything on an on otherwise nice day, I decided wind is the worst weather. We have all manner of rain gear to protect us (ponchos, boots, umbrellas) such that you can arrive to a destination dry. Same for snow (parkas, snow boots). For wind we have windbreakers, which do jack against a really strong wind. The day you wake up and the forecast is “wind,” I bet you, like me, are sometimes a little confused. Is wind even weather? Then you get outside and your hair is cast into knots and you struggle to even take a step forward, or are else literally shoved down your path by an invisible force, and you realize, wind is indeed weather. When has rain ripped a piece of paper out of your hands, causing you to litter involuntarily? When has snow blown over any furniture or belongings you left outside?
Wind’s behavior alone is not what makes wind the worst; it also super-charges other weathers to be the worst version of themselves. Wind so strong the rain goes horizontal, as we all know, is one of the worse weathers. But if it were just the rain, it’s not as bad; the wind is what makes it bad. Not only that, wind is super-effective against other forms of weather protection. A real windy rainy day makes an umbrella borderline usesless, turning it fully inside out only because it cannot carry you off like Mary god damn Poppins.
If you have a car, you might not agree. Cars protect from all things, and it takes a ton of wind to really tangle with a car. Even a little rain, by contrast, makes everyone everywhere drive like they’ve never driven before. And forget snow. But I’m not a car, and you are not your car. We are talking about the human experience.
I’m almost not prepared to defend this stance in actual extreme cases; all extreme weather is terrible. The disaster version of wind (tornadoes) I don’t think are fairly compared to natural disasters (tsunamis, earthquakes) but is disaster wind actually worse than say, typhoons or hurricanes? I’d say only, look how we measure the badness of hurricanes; it’s not by how much rain is coming down, but by — yes — fast the wind is blowing, even if the rain does the long tail of damage.
And to address the hail people who have read this entire article hoping they would get their chance at an “actually” and coming this close: ice rocks falling from the sky is not weather, but a Biblical event, like cicadas or the killing of firstborn sons. Thank you.