It’s November 3, 2020, and our forecast model indicates that there’s an 89% chance tomorrow will be partly cloudy, and a 10% chance — unlikely, but not impossible — that our world will be subjected to a permanent, unbearably agonizing hellfire that consumes everything in its wake.
All things considered, our forecast has been remarkably steady this year. Since publishing the model this summer, we’ve never given endless hellfire more than a 32% chance at enveloping our planet and destroying everything we’ve ever known and loved. That was in late August, when a satanic ritual attempting to summon the endless hellfire (from a large group with no masks) gave it a temporary boost in our projections.
Since then, though, the endless hellfire’s odds have only dwindled. It’s certainly still possible that it will burn us alive, slowly and excruciatingly, inch by inch, causing pain the likes of which we can hardly begin to fathom. But it’s comparable to the chance of a coin-flipping “heads” three times in a row. That’s right. Only three times. Go ahead, try it.
Also, there’s a 1% chance that the House of Representatives will vote to decide whether it will be partly cloudy or an endless hellfire. We recommend you don’t think too long about how that would play out.
To understand why endless hellfire has such a small — but non-negligible! — chance of ravaging our communities to unrecognizable rubble, look no further than the poles. Every reading of the Earth’s magnetic field in the last month has shown that a partly cloudy world enjoys a sizeable — though technically not insurmountable! — advantage over a world where you have to look your children in the eyes and admit that they have no future, their demise is imminent, and there’s nothing you or they can do about it.
This, combined with low favorability numbers among suburban white women, would indicate that endless hellfire is an underdog.
Still, underdogs sometimes prevail! But not usually. Though certainly it happens. And you shouldn’t be surprised if it happens. Yet, it’s probably not going to happen. Then again, it absolutely could. In all likelihood, though, it won’t. Unless it does.
We’ve heard some concerns from our readers based on what happened in 2016. But there are some significant differences between this forecast and our 2016 forecast. On November 8, 2016, we projected that there was a 71% chance the next day would be partly cloudy, and a 29% chance of four years of miserably debilitating gloom and gray.
As we all know, the gloom and gray prevailed, but that doesn’t mean our forecast was wrong; in fact, we received a lot of criticism at the time for saying the gloom and gray had a significant shot at becoming the inescapable reality in which we hopelessly toil.
Then, as now, we identified sources of uncertainty that could prevent a partly cloudy landscape from manifesting. If you want to explore various scenarios — like, for example, what if elderly Floridians pour gasoline on the nascent hellfire — check our adorably-designed yet existentially horrifying new interactive.
Ultimately, the reason we produce this forecast and the reason you track it are disparate. We aggregate data from the poles and apply a statistical model to deliver a probabilistic (though fundamentally uncertain) estimate of the chance we’re approaching doomsday. You come to us to be assured that your end is not nigh. Alas, no one, not even nerds who are better than you at math, can offer that comfort with 100% certainty.
But in the meantime, we’ll be live-blogging the weather and/or apocalypse for the next 18 hours straight, and we know you’ll join us anyway.