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Often the weather forecasts will say something like

晴れ [後]{のち} 所により曇り → Sunny/Clear; later Partly Cloudy

In English, most weather reports use more precise with time ranges, like (early/mid/late) morning, noon, (early/mid/late) afternoon, (early) evening, night time, late night, and I think most people have a good approximation of when these ranges cover (some likely overlap).

  • Morning: 5:00-12:00
    • Early: 5:00-7:00
    • Mid: 7:00-10:00
    • Late: 10:00-12:00
  • Noon: 11:30-13:00
  • Afternoon: 12:00-17:00
    • Early: 12:00-14:00
    • Mid: 14:00-15:30
    • Late: 15:00-17:00
  • Evening: 17:00-20:00
    • Early: 17:00-18:30
  • Night Time: 20:00-24:00
    • Late Night: 22:00以降

But the "later" that [後]{のち} uses seems very vague. When I hear it, I usually think "afternoon on(ward)". Is there an exact range it covers, or even an approximation that most people understand? Or is it basically when the new conditions start?

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Doesn't it just mean "after"? As in "afterwards"? –  Zhen Lin Mar 26 at 19:21
    
@ZhenLin: Yes, that's exactly my point. What times of the day are considered "after(wards)"? –  istrasci Mar 26 at 20:19
    
I think you are misunderstanding. It just means "after". 晴れのち曇り → clear then cloudy. –  Zhen Lin Mar 26 at 20:30
    
@ZhenLin: If that's what it is, then that's a terrible way to give a weather forecast in this age of technology. I think people expect pinpoint forecasts these days. –  istrasci Mar 26 at 21:56
9  
Here's what the Japan Meterological Agency has to say about it: jma.go.jp/jma/kishou/know/yougo_hp/toki.html –  非回答者 Mar 27 at 0:14

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

According to Japan Meteorological Agency, by definition, "AのちB" stands for "A for the first half (of the period being forecasted), then B for the latter half."

http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/kishou/know/faq/faq10.html

Obviously the actual time depends on the "forecast period". Unless otherwise specified, "weather reports for tomorrow" on evening TV shows refer to the weather from 0:00 to 24:00 on the following day. So in this case, "AのちB" means "A in the morning (until noon), then B until midnight".

However, "weather reports for today", announced 5:00AM daily by JMA for example, covers the resting 19 hours of that day. Theoretically, in this case, the border between A and B will be around, 14:30.

That said, I think most Japanese people do not care for such details. After all, there are always errors in weather forecasting, and when precision is needed, they just avoid using "のち".

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Regarding your last point, even though it possible to forecast the weather in detail, these are surely done using complex models and the models are only as good as their inputs and their underlying assumptions -> they won't always be right. –  Tim Mar 28 at 0:15

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