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Ever wondered how long it takes a raindrop to fall or whether it’s better to run or walk through a torrential downpour?

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In a unique collaboration with British weather experts at the Met Office and Californian illustrator Lisa Romero, Hunter presents four lesser-known facts about rain to mark the launch of our latest campaign. FINALhunter02

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IS IT BETTER TO WALK OR RUN THROUGH RAIN?

Run, fast.

Perhaps you've been caught in the rain and wondered if it’s better to run as fast as you can to get out of the rain, or whether running will be better walking? Recent research has suggested there is no easy answer affected by factors as varied as the individual's height-to-breadth ratio, wind direction and the size of the raindrops. Professor Bocci who conducted the research in the Journal of European Physics did though offer the overall conclusion that "in general, the best thing is to run, as fast as you can - not always, but in general."

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WHAT SHAPE IS A RAINDROP, REALLY?

Air resistance causes most raindrops to curve like jelly beans.

While raindrops are usually represented in the shape of a teardrop, in reality they are not. When they first form high up in the atmosphere, they form a spherical shape as the water molecules bind together held by surface tension. As they begin to fall their shape changes as they hit other raindrops, while air resistance causes the bottom of the drop to flatten and curve resembling the shape of a jelly bean.

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HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE A RAINDROP TO FALL?

As fast as two minutes or as slow as 7 minutes.

It’s difficult to give an exact figure as the height at which raindrops fall and their size vary widely, but given that raindrops fall at an average speed of around 14 mph and assuming a cloud base height of around 2,500 feet, a raindrop would take just over 2 minutes to reach the ground. Larger raindrops can fall as fast as 20 mph, while the smallest raindrops can take up to 7 minutes to fall.

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WHAT IS PHANTOM RAIN?

Rain that fall without ever reaching the ground.

Under certain conditions, rain can fall from the sky without ever reaching the ground. It happens when rain falling from a cloud evaporates or sublimes as it approaches the earth's surface. This creates what is known as Virga clouds, a tail or wisp extending from a cloud in a downwards direction and are generally seen to extend from Cirrocumulus, Altocumulus, Altostratus, Nimbostratus, Stratocumulus, Cumulus or Cumulonimbus clouds.

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Discover more from The Met Office and Lisa Romero.

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