Scattered vs. Isolated vs. Likely

I hope everyone has enjoyed the beautiful weather we have had recently across SE Wisconsin. After a record breaking wet June, July and August have been much nicer. Still no 90 degree temps, but I don’t think too many people are complaining.

I often get questions about what we mean when we say a chance for isolated storms or scattered storms. I will try to make this easier to understand. Isolated showers or storms are the hit and miss variety storms that will miss most of the area. It is a good idea to bring an umbrella, but don’t change your plans. Isolated means only about a 20% chance for rain and areal coverage will be small. Scattered is a better chance between 40% and 60% chance with larger areal coverage. It is not a guarantee that it will rain, but you should plan accordingly. Widespread means that most of the area will get rain, meaning about an 80% chance that your location will get wet. I hope this helps in figuring out forecasting jargon.

Mark Baden

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