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Folklore Behind Cats and Dogs Rain

The folklore behind the saying "it's raining cats and dogs."


Cats and Dogs Rain Wednesday

 OK, we have all used and heard the saying “it’s raining cats and dogs” in everyday conversation. The rough translation is it is raining really hard. Fair enough.
 
But my recollection of the folklore behind the saying dates back to the late 1800s in New York City. It was a February night when a Nor’easter raged along the Jersey coastline. Wind swept torrential rains rode an easterly gale into the city flooding the primitive storm sewers of the Big Apple.
 
Of course, if you were a pet owner in the city, there was no room for an outdoor kennel. Instead, your pet lived inside with you. Most New Yorkers back then kept their pets in the basement.
 
At the height of the tempest, not only did the storm sewers flood, but water flooded most of the city’s basements. Since the cats and dogs lived in these basements, they were forced out of the basements into the city streets where it was pouring rain.
 
And as the late, great Paul Harvey would say, “now you know the rest of the story”.
 
I use this story as a backdrop for the rain I am predicting in the morning. Fueled by the spring-like warmth leftover from the weekend spell of Indian Summer, heavy rains will arrive in time for the morning school bell. Dress the kids for the pouring rains and have their homework assignments well covered in their school bags.
 
Now since the wind currents at 5,000 feet will be converging overhead (one seam coming from the Memphis Liberty Bowl and a second from Knoxville), a booster shot of rain with thunder and lightning will be present in the morning.
 
Widespread street flooding is likely with some small streams swelling to the brim especially across the Coalfields.
 
My suggestion, wear an old pair of shoes, throw the rain slicker over the kids and relish in the notion that it will rain “cats and dogs” on Wednesday morning.  
 
One final word on "cats and dogs" rain; namely, this is a piece of folklore and hence is open to individual interpretation. There will be other notions of what the phrase means and where it came from. Most importantly remember, it is legends like this that make us all weather fans.
 
As Mark Twain once wrote, "everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it". I wouldn't have it any other way!


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