you ever wonder why a weather forecast can change so dramatically
over the course of three, five, or even seven days?
donít think itís the changes that bother me though. The world
is about change, and weather is always in motion. Literally and
figuratively. Instead, I think itís those funny percentages that
sometimes come along with the forecast.
past few days were supposed to nice around our house. Roughly
around 80 degrees. Sunny with a few clouds. A three-day stretch
of such weather began with predictions of being followed by two
days of rain. From the beginning, both of those days came with
better than 50/50 chances of rain. 50% for one and 70% for the
other. And now, as the sun goes down on day three of the five
overall, what had early on been that 50% day is now showing sunshine
and lollipops and bunny rabbits. If it rains at all, it will be
at around 10 or 11pm, the more likely even later into the overnight
during the first hours of that 70% day five.
reality is, I donít fully care. I approach the weather in pretty
basic ways. Sun is out, I mow the lawn. Dark and threatening clouds
in the morning, I donít hang laundry. Rain pouring from the sky.
Iíve got stuff to do inside. Winter is cold, summer is hot, prepare
yourself accordingly and store your turtlenecks in July. And probably
like you, for the most part I approach those weather reportsÖ
especially the long-range reportsÖ with the complete understanding
that things are in motion and subject to change.
those darn shifting percentages.
days from now, one place I go for weather is saying there is a
one-hundred-percent chance for rain. 100%. I donít know how you
view a claim of 100%, but I was pretty much universally taught
thatís supposedly absolute. You get told something is one-hundred-percent-happening,
then itís happening. Right?
days away though. Everyone feeling good that the 100% forecast
of rain will remain a perfect 100% chance of rain each and every
moment of the next five days leading to it? Iím not critiquing
whether or not it will rain in six days. Instead, my point is
simpleÖ if youíre telling me today that itís a 100% chance, then
youíre saying there is no chance that changes. Right?
course not. Thatís why we make fun of weather forecasts. Thatís
why we say things like if you donít like the weather, wait a few
minutes. Thatís why so many amazingly talented and well-trained
professionals working in the field are greeted with often completely
used to approach things quite simply. Wake up, look out the window,
plan for the day. Simple.
I got a bit older. I had to drive to work. I might set off to
visit friends, with hundreds of miles of highway involved in the
journey. When I began moving in the morning, it actually mattered
if it was going to begin snowing between 2 and 3pm. Such forecasts
meant planning on my partÖ action on my part. Other forecasts
might mean getting up an hour or two earlier to clear the drivewayÖ
might mean not being able to mow the lawn.
that one-hundred-percent thing isnít just the weather that changes
as life moves along. We count on certain things happening. And
the reality is, there is no such thing as 100%. Not as long as
computers crash, cars break down, friends canít come over because
of unexpected emergencies, andÖ okÖ as long as weather changes.
a saying I like, because it works so well. Goes something like
the only thing thatís constant is change. (And if you donít believe
thatís true, then youíd better get your umbrella out. Not because
of today or tomorrow. In six days, itís going to rain. 100% guaranteed.)