It seems quite a few of us don’t have any idea how to read the weather, and a viral TikTok has proved exactly that. Does the percentage shown on forecasts represent how likely it is that your area will rain, or does it signify the percentage of your area that will be covered in rain? Let’s discuss.
Back in 1983, Martha Wash and Izora Armstead teamed up to confront the dangers of storm and downpour, teaching us all about the perils of being caught in the rain. From thereon, they were known as The Weather Girls, who survived the great raining of the men in the early ’80s.
My point here is, after all these women have done for us, we should definitely give a bit more thought into the TikTok videos that we blindly listen to.
Thanks to TikTok user @scarlettmoffatt / Scarlett Moffatt (who is quite the celebrity over in the UK), a bunch of people have started to question what the hell a percentage on a weather forecast actually means.
“I just found out that on the weather app, when it says 30% rain, I thought it meant 30% chance of rain,” Moffatt says in her video.
“It doesn’t mean that. It means that 30% of your area will be covered in rain.”
Personally, I’d like to say what the fuck. Have we been lied to our entire lives? Is the Bureau of Meteorology conspiring against us?
Well, turns out the answer is actually no. This video is “dead wrong” according to the Bureau of Meteorology, so don’t freak out.
The BoM has explained exactly how to read the rain forecasts in this little blog post, which will help anyone who is still confused.
“Technically this value [‘chance of rain’] refers to the likelihood of the selected location receiving more than the minimum measurable amount of rainfall (0.2 mm) over the 24 hours from midnight to midnight,” BoM writes.
“30% chance of any rain tomorrow means that, out of ten days like tomorrow, it will rain on three.”
In non-nerd terms, that means that when you see 30% rain, it means chance, not area.
This of course may be different around the world, but if you’re in Australia, do not fret if folks on TikTok tell you otherwise.