How to Read a Weather Forecast


The weather forecast is often the most important factor in deciding what to wear. The weather also has an impact on outdoor activities. Knowing how to read a weather forecast is a skill that many people take for granted. However, some symbols and abbreviations are not intuitive at first glance.

  • Scan the page to get a feel for how the forecast is laid out. Some forecasts are arranged in boxes running left to right, while others are composed of text that runs top to bottom.

  • Find the forecast box with today's date. There will be two numbers. The higher number is the forecast maximum temperature for the day. The lower number is the minimum temperature.

  • Take note of the forecast weather conditions. Symbols like sunshine or lightning are self-explanatory.

  • Note the chance of precipitation, which is given as a percentage. If there is no mention of rain or snow, then chances are zero.

  • Look at the next day's forecast. Pay attention to any departures from the current day's forecast.

  • Look at the remainder of the forecast. Think about your weekly activities, and if the weather has a chance of altering those activities.

Tips & Warnings

  • A weather forecast is never set in stone. The further out in time a forecast goes, the less reliable it becomes. Always be prepared for the unexpected.
  • Severe weather forecasts should be taken seriously. Stay off the road during blizzards. Likewise, don't go outdoors if a tornado watch is in effect.

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