Meteorologists address rumors of snow forecasts

Source: Facebook
Source: Facebook

Recent posts on social media point to another winter storm hitting the southern United States next Friday but meteorologists are disputing those claims.

This far in advance, computer models tend to have large errors, which is why forecasters will cross reference various models to see how they compare to one another. Instead of trusting one model, meteorologists use a blend of models to get a better feel for upcoming forecasts.

The picture to the right shows one of the social media graphics that has circulated over the past few days. "Snowmageddon 2014" will be on its way next Friday, if you believe in exact model runs.

But as expected, by late this afternoon the models changed to a warmer forecast. Better yet, by this weekend, models could very well predict an abundance of sunshine for next Friday.

The problems is that the graphics circulating on social media will continue to be shared and liked, leading to a storm of misinformation rather than the so-called forecasted snowstorm.

When asked what 7Stormteam Chief Meteorologist Wade Hampton's early forecast was for next Friday he answered, "Where is the weather dartboard? Let's just say it looks cloudy and wet."

Online computer models and social media are a benefit to weather awareness when used correctly. As always, check your sources of information and check with local media or the National Weather Service for the most accurate and up-to-date weather information.

Weathermen rely on multiple computer models to help determine what type of weather will affect your area as you go about your daily life. Such computer models measure current conditions at the surface, along with weather balloon data from around the globe to follow weather systems as they travel through the atmosphere.

Forecasting beyond the usual seven days is becoming normal throughout the weather industry. It is a great benefit to be able to alert the public in advance of approaching adverse weather conditions, but there are many dangers in how this information is spread to the general public.

Most of the weather models in existence are online for public use, but when you combine long-range weather model graphics with social media platforms, you have a recipe for a rapid blitz of misinformation.