The weather isnít the only thing that changes likeÖ wellÖ you know


Did you ever wonder why a weather forecast can change so dramatically over the course of three, five, or even seven days?

I 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.

The 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.

The 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.

But those darn shifting percentages.

Six 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?

Six 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?

Of 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 unjustified criticism.

I used to approach things quite simply. Wake up, look out the window, plan for the day. Simple.

Then 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.

Amazingly, 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.

Thereís 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.)


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