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Oddity 7 Rainy Here but Sunny There

Yunnan possesses a plateau climate as changeable as a kid’s face, since rain and wind come and go without one knowing. A popular saying goes like this, “Weather varies within a circumference of ten lis (Li is a Chinese unit of half a kilometer) and winter comes once it rains.” Even in the same area, one often sees rain here and sees sunshine in another place.


Although seasonal climate variations are relatively small in Yunnan, the local weather conditions can be very changeable, especially during the summer rainy season, when thunderstorms can affect one side of a mountain and not the other. An old saying says: “Weather varies within a circumference of 10 li (5 km) and winter comes when it rains”. 


Interestingly, one might think that this Oddity implies an abundance of rainbows, but this is not the case. There can be plenty of simultaneous rain and sunshine, but because of Yunnan’s low latitude the sun is usually high in the sky, arcing at high speed to or from the horizon. It’s never at a low enough angle for long enough to provide decent odds for rainbow viewing!


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