"The Oldie is an incredible magazine - perhaps the best magazine in the world right now" Graydon Carter, founder of Air Mail and former Editor of Vanity Fair

Subscribe to the Oldie and get a free cartoon book


Quite Interesting Things about … rain

Regulars | By John Lloyd

Quite Interesting Things about … rain

Half of Earth’s rain falls in the 12 wettest days of the year.

It is most likely to be raining at 7am and least likely at 3am.

London gets less rain than Rome, Venice or Nice.

South East England has lower annual rainfall than Jerusalem or Beirut.

Parts of Antarctica have had no rain or snow for two million years.

Light travels 18 million times faster than rain.

It takes a million cloud droplets to make one raindrop.

A raindrop that falls into the Thames will pass through the bodies of eight people before it reaches the sea.

Cows lie down when they are cold or tired – not necessarily when it’s about to rain.

Bees know when it’s going to rain, and so they put in extra work the day before.

The Burmese sneezing monkey sneezes uncontrollably whenever it rains.

Owls are 70 times less likely to hoot when it’s raining.

The pleasant smell of soil after rain is caused by bacteria in the soil and is called petrichor, from Greek petros, ‘stone’, and ichor, ‘the fluid that flows through the veins of the gods’.

The Roman Emperor Augustus was frightened of thunder and lighting and terrified every time it rained.

Roman emperors were more likely to be assassinated when it didn’t rain.

When it rains heavily in the Sumatran rainforests, there is a corresponding drought in East Africa, 3,700 miles away.

A rattlesnake that has been out in the rain will not rattle. Rainwater contains vitamin B12.

John Lloyd

For more on QI, visit qi.com and, on Twitter, @qikipedia

This story was from October 2022 issue. Subscribe Now