Rain Forecasts

During my thirty year career in broadcast meteorology, I have never used "percent chance of rain" within a forecast that I have issued.

Why? Most people don't understand percentages when applied to area rainfall. Percentages are not reliable when applied to future rain in this area.

Case in point, June 11th, 2004, the National Weather Service forecasted a 20% chance of rain, but we got nothing in the entire Coastal Bend. Yet on May 10th, 2004 we had a 20% chance of rain and got the biggest rainfall of the year for the city!

Since forecasting the weather is not an exact science, I use a more reliable rain forecast system that breaks the rainfall opportunity into four categories:

  1. None or stray
  2. Isolated
  3. Scattered
  4. Numerous or likely

Each of the four categories implies the coverage of rainfall in the Coastal Bend, not just at your house or mine. Please note that rain forecasts DO NOT include rain amounts. Isolated thunderstorms could dump several inches in only a few spots.

- Chief Meteorologist Dale Nelson

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