You’ve Been Reading the Weather Forecast Icons All Wrong

You’ve Been Reading the Weather Forecast Icons All Wrong
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We all know that one person who will check the weather radar as soon as there’s even the slightest sign of rain. To be fair, the weather can dictate a fair bit of our day to day which is why we tend to rely so heavily on weather forecasts. But do you know how to accurately interpret one?

weather forecast icon
Do you know how to read a weather forecast correctly? Credit: Paramount

Let’s find out.

How to properly read a weather forecast

When it comes to weather forecasts you’re probably familiar with terms like ‘chance of rain’ or the little weather icons that indicate sun, wind or clouds.

It’s all too easy to generalise these symbols and jump to the conclusion that a storm cloud for Sydney means it’s going to hit all 12,000 square kilometres of the city.

When it doesn’t, we’re usually bitter about the fact that the meteorologists got it wrong. But actually, we’re probably reading the forecast incorrectly.

ABC weatherman Nate Byrne has cleared up some of the misconceptions around weather forecasts.

In an Instagram video on ABC Everyday, Byrne explained that the little weather icons are a result of a whole day’s worth of weather condensed into one emoji, meaning you lose a lot of context.

This is why we have things like the chance of rain and expected millimetres in weather forecasts. As Byrne explains:

“A 10 per cent chance of rain means that about 10 per cent of a forecast area could see something fall out of the sky. And those forecast areas, they can be pretty big. Like six kilometres by six kilometres big”

When it comes to the millimetre predictions of rain, it seems we might also be misinterpreting those numbers.

“The first number tells you what about 50 per cent of people, in the group that will see anything at all, will get. And the second number is what about 25 per cent of people could get. That means if that first number is really small, or even zero, then most people aren’t going to see any [rain] at all.”

If you’re still confused about why there’s a rainfall weather icon in your area, that’s just because it’s still possible. It’s the weather! Things change.

Still, if you’re looking to get more accurate readings out of your daily weather report, hopefully, these tips help you further understand what’s coming out of the sky.

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