A simple question -- a not-so-simple answer!

Best chance of rain!

This came along in the email collection over the holiday weekend:

Would like to know how the weather forecast can be scattered thunderstorms at 3 p.m. on the hourly weather but the future on the radar shows ZERO clouds except offshore. I know the forecast is for the viewing area but I don’t think the fish care whether it is raining or not. Do you? May we please have a more accurate weather forecast?

Mary

A weatherperson’s job is never done! Offhand, we all know that in this hot and humid environment pop-up thunderstorms, especially along the sea breeze, are often a given. I get that we might be forecasting a 30% chance for storm development when there is no development yet -- and if there isn’t any yet then the Futurecast radar has nothing to start with. That word “yet” is a big word (Your Eligible To) and I’ve seen storms go from not-a-cloud-in-the-sky to dangerous boomers in 30 minutes. So getting it exactly to the hour is certainly our attempt, but weather is fluid and we’re doing our best to indicate the potential of inconvenient, if not dangerous, weather.

Now about those fish. I attended the National Hurricane Conference last year, and one speaker’s point was to please not call storms or hurricanes “fish storms,” as if no one out there on the seas is affected. Each day, thousands of boats with thousands more people are roaming the ocean blue and in doing a little research, I found a real-time site to track the major boat traffic. Here’s a screenshot of the world’s traffic this morning followed by the Gulf of Mexico:

courtesy marinetraffic.com
courtesy marinetraffic.com

You can explore the routes and ships out there by going to marinetraffic.com and it’s actually pretty cool!

By the way, the best chance of a thunderstorm the next 10 days is today! You guessed it: 30% chance.

Frank

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About the Authors:

KPRC 2's chief meteorologist with three decades of experience forecasting Houston's weather.

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.