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Confusion With A Chance Of Clarity: Your Weather Questions, Answered

Many listeners and readers felt a concise explanation of "a 20 percent chance of rain" was missing from this story about weather forecasts and probability, so we followed up with two meteorologists.

From meterologist Eli Jacks, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service:

"There's a 20 percent chance that at least one-hundreth of an inch of rain — and we call that measurable amounts of rain — will fall at any specific point in a forecast area."

And from Jason Samenow, chief meteorologist with The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang:

"It simply means for any locations for which the 20 percent chance of rain applies, measurable rain (more than a trace) would be expected to fall in two of every 10 weather situations like it."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Prior to his retirement, Robert Siegel was the senior host of NPR's award-winning evening newsmagazine All Things Considered. With 40 years of experience working in radio news, Siegel hosted the country's most-listened-to, afternoon-drive-time news radio program and reported on stories and happenings all over the globe, and reported from a variety of locations across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. He signed off in his final broadcast of All Things Considered on January 5, 2018.