Hello everyone, we have received countless questions and links about a major storm coming to the region next week. Sourced back to one weather Facebook/Website, a blog has been posted about the “biggest storm of the season impacting 100 million people with heavy snow, severe weather, ice, flooding,” dogs and cats living together, and candy coated rain drops. Please understand that if you have not heard it here, then it is safe to assume that we feel the probability does not warrant it being mentioned. We have said countless times that forecasting the weather beyond three days is imperfect. Beyond five days: lucky at best. Beyond seven days “hey ya never know”. Forecasting the “biggest storm of the season” at over seven days out, is no longer informing but it is simply reckless. It is constructed in such a way to create likes, clicks, and money. It desensitizes people to the actual threat. It discredits pages like HVW and causes panic, and fear for the sake of popularity.
Now could a storm impact the region next week? Sure, and it could be partly cloudy with a chance of meatballs tomorrow! You can certainly say a storm will affect millions of people next week, storms effect millions of people every week. There COULD be a major storm next week, but to make such certain claims, and use such strong words, is nothing more than sensationalism and hype at its best.
Now, generally I would not even waste the keystrokes addressing something like this, but I feel it is my responsibility to at least protect the 70k+ people that follow HVW, and inform them of the differences between forecasting and hype. All of you have seen forecasts that contained uncertainties even within 24 hours of the event; the further out a forecast goes the more uncertainty that enters the situation. Now we mentioned the threat of both Sandy, October Snowstorm, and Irene at 5+ days out, this was due to the high threat these storms posed to our region, combined with an unusually high consensus of forecast models. Even when these storms were mentioned, the tone was more of ” HV please be aware that we are monitoring a potential tropical system that may impact the region next week, stay tuned for future updates and please factor this potential into your plans.” That falls under the category of informing the public. If we were to say 7-10 day out something like “HV buy milk and bubblegum, and pack your bags! A storm of epic proportions will rain fire down on the HV, leave now” we may have gotten more “likes” more “followers” more “retweets” and more advertising revenue because of all of the panic and fear generated from the post. In a world of internet, and social media these actions can go “viral” and spread like wildfire. This post we are speaking of has been viewed 50k times and shared hundreds of times on Facebook. It has made it to our wall and private messages over 20 times in 1o hours from all different people, this is the power of social media. It is a responsibility that should never be taken lightly. I will not post a direct link to this source because I do not want to perpetuate it being more viral, and I won’t name the source out of pure professionalism. In closing, please know that the safety and interest of the HV is one of the most important things to us, and we will always strive to be the first source of viable and accurate information for everyone. When getting your information from other sources, please remember this post and ask yourself, “hype or informative?”
Below you will find to examples,exhibit A is the said viral post, exhibit B you will read the blue lines as the page admins and black lines as the fans. Please use these as examples of how to differentiate between a trusted source and untrusted source.
Now we will post the forecast for the week ahead in our next blog post, and hopefully answer some questions about the week ahead.