Partly Cloudy or Partly Sunny?

I love this email exchange just forwarded my way from my Uncle, a self-proclaimed anal retentive word-wonk, perhaps even the most anal retentive word-wonk.

—– Original Message —–
From: Brian Greene
Date: Saturday, September 11, 2004 11:33 am
Subject: terminology

After wondering about this for years, I just read your page on weather terminology and am still somewhat confused. What, if any, is the difference between “partly cloudy” and “partly sunny”?

Brian Greene


From: “W-Lmk Webmaster”
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 2004 21:38:41 -0400
To: W-Lmk Webmaster

One additional note from my email exchange requesting permission to post this:

I did realize, however, after I sent my response to their response, that it would make absolutely no sense to use the term, “partly sunny” at night!! Also, my math was inaccurate. If total cloud cover is 3/8, there are not “still more clouds than sun.” Still. I think it’s amusing for the National Weather Service to admit that the two terms mean the same thing. I also seem to recall both terms being used during the day, so…???!!!!????

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