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tanner asked in Science & MathematicsWeather · 1 decade ago

Thunderstorms - isolated vs. scattered?

What's the difference between isolated & scattered thunderstorms? Does scattered mean off & on throughout the day, & isolated mean just at one time during the day (such as morning or evening, etc)?

1 Answer

  • 1 decade ago
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    I don't think it has anything to do with the period of time; rather, the coverage.

    Reporting weather observations has been done internationally for more than a century. Because of that, a standard way of describing the sky exists. Today it can still be seen in maritime or aviation reports (the latter, called METAR). It uses the following shorthand:

    CLR - clear of clouds

    FEW - few clouds, i.e. less than a quarter of the sky

    SCT - scattered. Less than half of the sky

    BRK - broken. More than half of the sky

    OVC - overcast.

    I think that US meteorologists use something similar for thunderstorms:

    Isolated: less than a quarter of the area covered by thunderstorm cells, and

    Scattered: less than half of the area covered by thunderstorm cells.

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