What's the difference between Scattered Thunder Storms and Isolated Thunder Storms?

I’m supposed to be leaving from Chicago tonight at 8pm and the weather station says isolated thunder storms then scattered thunder storms. What’s the difference? Are isolated T-Storms the ones that pop up every so often, and Scattered the ones that are more wide spread or the other way around?

Weather people have their own lingo. Where is that fuzzy line between Partly Cloudy and Partly Sunny?

As to your question, if I’m looking at the Doppler radar for our area and I see a “system” of stuff moving across the region but not solidly so, I tend to regard those pockets of activity as “scattered.” If, on the other hand, I see little pop-up looking blobs at random places around the area, and they aren’t really moving in what appears to be some organized “system” I tend to regard them as isolated.

I suspect the real answer for you depends on how the weather boys and girls use the terms in your region.

I think partly cloudy means that when you look up , you see the sky as 40% clouds, 60% blue.
Partly sunny is 40% blue, 60% clouds.

Unimpeachable cite: my memories of high school geography 3 decades ago.

The first interpretation is correct - “scattered” implies more than “isolated”.

Grrr - the weather looks like crap for the next few hours in Milwaukee and Chicago, I hope I can get out ahead of it or right after it…

Sorry… Wishing you the best of luck…

Based on what I’ve seen of the Weather Channel, use of the term ‘isolated thunderstorms’ tends to go with 10-30% estimates of rain, while ‘scattered thunderstorms’ seems to go with 30-50% estimates. Over 50% seems to be just ‘thunderstorms’ with no qualifier.

The no-kidding source: http://www.weather.gov/glossary/

The only thing left to the imagination is the definition of “location”. If a forecast office states “there is a 30% chance of rain today”, is that fulfilled only if it rains on their office building, or is it fulfilled if it rains in one tiny spot someplace in the 6 counties coevered by that forecast office?