|MadSci Network: Earth Sciences|
Greetings Dana, Gravity rules, and it ALWAYS pulls things toward the center of the earth - that is, straight down. If you see rain falling at an angle, it's because there is some wind. Look sometime at smoke from a chimney on a day that feels calm, and it is almost always rising at an angle due to slight winds. If rain is very fine, it is extremely easy for a light breeze to make it go sideways. The heavier the raindrops (the more inertia they have), the more wind it takes to shift them sideways. When a rainstorm is moving through your area, remember that it is MOVING. If you set up a decent anemometer (protected from the rain but not the wind) with a nice, low-friction bearing, you should see it rotating a bit even when it feels nearly calm outside. Even if only at couple of miles per hour, wind can still carry the drops sideways a bit as they fall. Hope this answers your question. Keep observing. Paul Odgren Cell Biology University of Massachusetts Medical School Worcester MA
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