When I worked in Texas, there was always a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms.  We all took it with a grain of salt mainly because it was always 110 degrees with no clouds in the sky.  Then the monsoon would funnel in.  Usually it meant the chance of rain was greater during that time of year.  I had to chuckle when I watched the Weather Channel  the other day (yes it’s a weakness) and the forecast called for a 20 percent chance of rain this week because of monsoon moisture pouring in from the Southwest.  But: If you’ve traveled anywhere in the U.S., you’ve heard this: “Today, a twenty percent chance of showers.”  In layman’s terms this means…

• An 80 percent chance that it won’t rain.
• A chance that 20 percent of a picnic you’ve planned will get washed out; bring a poncho.
• The baseball game will not be a wash out, even after a five-hour delay if it does rain 20 percent of nine innings (ninth grade algebra).
• That means there is an 80 percent chance you won’t get that raise at work, raining all over your parade.
• A 20 percent chance that you could get struck by lightning (in Florida).
• An 80 percent chance that you’ll get hit by a hurricane in the near future (especially in Florida).
• 20 percent off your hotel room, not including bed, tourist, parking, resort and mini bar taxes; negating 80 percent of your 20 percent savings (10th grade algebra).
• 80 percent of a chance that someone will flip the bird at you while driving.
• 20 percent chance that you didn’t deserve to be flipped off.
• 80 percent chance that your bike tire will go flat on the hottest day of the year while 30 miles from your destination.
• A 20 percent chance that someone will drive by with Fix-a-Flat.
• An 80 percent chance that it will cost 20 percent more to get your car fixed

And finally:

• A 20 percent chance that yes, it will rain in California someday.
• An 80 percent chance the drought will get worse in California..Duh.
• A 20 percent chance that 80 percent of the clouds will turn out to make good sunset pictures.

Monsoon clouds, laden with moisture, create a stunning sunset in Windsor, Sunday July 20, 2014.  (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2014

Monsoon clouds over Windsor, Sunday July 20, 2014.  (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2014

Monsoon clouds, laden with moisture, create a stunning sunset over Mt. St. Helena, Sunday June 25, 2014. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2014

-Kent Porter