Tuesday, September 4, 2012


This may seem dead obvious, but it’s surprising how many authors don’t get it. The weather around the world is different. And not only that, people’s perceptions of it differ too.
Every year the Americans laugh at me when I start wearing two sweaters and wooly socks as soon as the temperature drops below 21C (70F). Most of them are still in t-shirts and shorts. But I live in a temperate climate, where hot, dry weather is common and it never snows. People who live in areas with snow for several months of the year, would not appreciate a nice summer here, where the temperature may stay over 100F for a week or ten days straight.
So when you are writing about the weather, either use terms that people can make fit their own preconceptions, “it was cold but sunny”, or be sure you have your facts correct. Remember blogs and Wikipedia aren’t always accurate, and are tainted by personal bias. Someone from far northern Australia complaining about the heat probably means 100% humidity and 40C (104F) but to someone from the central Australian desert, 40C is hardly even midsummer weather, but the humidity is very, very low. Anyone from Ireland however, would be in hospital from heat exhaustion about then. Their temperatures seldom rise about the mid80s.
A good, factual reference for the weather around the world is: http://www.timeanddate.com/weather/
 Helen Woodall
Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for another great post!

I'm with you with the jumpers and woolly socks. It reached 20 degrees (C) today, and I could finally walk around barefoot (comfortably, that is :) for the first time in months. If I complain about the cold to anyone, though, the reply's usually, "Has it really been cold?"


Helen Woodall: Freelance Editing said...

Hi Deborah,
I'm glad the weather's getting nicer for you too now. It's spring here now, 24C today and I loved it.

anny cook said...

Also...weather can be a real character in a story. :-) 73F here this morning...going into fall.

Helen Woodall: Freelance Editing said...

Oh yes Anny. Good point!

Janis said...

I always think about the time of year when researching. I have to know when the sun sets and rises, and what the average temp is.

I moved to Atlanta from Ireland last year, and had to adjust to 100F+ weather - we stayed inside a lot.

In Ireland if it got anyway near the mid 80s, it was considered a heatwave :).

Helen Woodall: Freelance Editing said...

I was in Dublin on their "hottest day ever". It was 31C (88F). To me it was just a nice sunny day. But I did notice a lot of people didn't seem to have clothes designed for the weather. Which is probably why I find America in October way too cold.