With the recent rains I have been re-asked the eternal question: "Should I Walk or Run in the Rain?" This is a classic question that meteorologists get asked and upon which we have probably spent way too much time. So, does a person make impact with more droplets as they run faster even though they are exposed for a shorter period of time? Or do more drops hit the front of a running person than on their head and shoulders when they run instead of walk?
There have even been a number of studies to "scientifically'' calculate whether it's better to run or walk to shelter. One of the simpler studies had people wear a piece of cardboard over their heads and in front of them as they walked or ran through the rain and then the number of drops that marked the cardboard were counted. A more detailed effort from the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina had their experimental subjects wear identical moisture absorbing clothing as they walked 100 yards at 3 mph and then ran the same course at 9 mph. Their clothing was then weighed to find out how much water was absorbed. They found that speed helps ... the person who ran the course absorbed 40 percent less water than the walker!
And of course someone, again with way too much time on their hands, has put up a website to calculate how wet you would get based upon your size, speed and the rate of rainfall. See http://www.dctech.com/physics/notes/0006.php and http://www.dctech.com/physics/notes/0005.php.
Jan Null, CCM
Golden Gate Weather Services