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When I was an Air Traffic Controller, we never ever used the word "WINDS". We always said "WIND". After all, it is the Wind, right?

We don't say RAINS or SNOWS or AIRS or SLEETS so why do so called meteorologists add an "s" to wind?

As an example, weather reporters on TV frequently tell us to expect HEAVY RAIN, or RAINSHOWERS, or HEAVY SNOW. They don't say Rains or Snows.

So what are the rules governing the use of weather conditions?

  • The count-noncount- ... (?) ... analysis runs into some very tricky grey areas. With 'The sands of Port Royal' etc, there is a plural-form but syntactically non-count (you can't say 'the five sands of ...') pluralisation of the usual singular-form noncount noun. I'd say that 'winds' here is likewise plural-form (in this case, to indicate that there are different squalls at least) but non-count (you wouldn't say 'Expect 59 or so strong winds here today'). Countness / noncountness is a syntactic approach intended to faithfully reflect reality, but it breaks down with far-from-discrete entities. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 22 '17 at 0:34
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When you're referring to multiple instances of wind occurring, winds can be a correct usage. You wouldn't refer to all the wind on a single breezy day as "winds", but were you describing a windy location you could say "the winds at the castle are cold", because the wind occurs on separate occasions.

Multiple examples of wind of a specific direction or type can also be aggregated as "winds", such as describing wind from the cardinal directions as "the four winds".

Also, we do say things like Snows or Rains. Pop culture examples include "The Rains of Castamere" and "I bless the rains down in Africa" and "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" - again it refers to multiple instances.

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