As many of you know, one big topic this week has been the growing problem of “Hurricane Hypesters” (and winter storm hypesters) who make bogus forecasts with little to no merit simply for the pleasure of attracting attention. While few amateurs who do engage in harmful hype, their ‘forecasts’ can attract thousands of likes and shares which can cause widespread panic.
One spectacular example of this happened this week when a Facebook page called ‘Weather Alert Central’ posted a bogus forecast saying the disturbance we have all been tracking would slam into the Gulf Coast as a major hurricane. Well here we are, the timeframe they said the storm would ravage the Gulf states, and this is what we have today.
Can you spot the hurricane? (Hint: it doesn’t exist)
While one computer model did vaguely hint at this solution, many in the weather community, including myself were very skeptical. 5 days ago, when the hype started, I made a post that discussed the potential dangers the storm could bring and many others, amateurs and pros sang songs to the same tune so to speak.
Despite the fact that the hypesters were wrong (they almost always are), it was still discouraging to see many in the pro field bashing amateurs in general. Here’s one quote from the Washington Post’s Jason Samenow saying :
“We lament that armchair meteorologists (amateurs, students, novices, etc.) post unreliable model simulations on social media”
Now I agree that some who fall into this category do exactly that (back in 6th grade, I came pretty close until Mike Hagget stepped in on twitter gave me a little more perspective), but the majority of us are devoted to squashing the hype.
As a 13-year-old high school freshman, I’m not a professional met, nor do I claim to be. I’m just a ‘kid’ who loves the weather and wants to share the forecasts I work hard to make. Many of you know this about me but for those who don’t, I hope it doesn’t change how you see me or this site. Everything posted here is something I have put time, energy and thought into and I am really proud of what has come out of it.
Here’s a graphic I made 5 days ago showing the OTS solution. I’ve stuck with that all along and here is the NHC forecast track as of this morning:
Thankfully, I have been lucky enough to have a Dad to told me to join twitter (yes, really!) and there I have met many people who have taught me a lot about weather and forecasting (Shoutout to Mike Hagget, Bernie Rayno, and Eric Fisher, among others, for being especially friendly and informative!) but I know there is still a long way to go.
I know that there are a select few who give the amateur met group a bad name but my hope is that those who do hype realize that what they are doing is wrong and stop (wishful thinking, I know!) and also that those in the pro category both continue to put those fires out when they start (I know I’ll try too!) and also not criticize, but help out those of us who will one day be on TV/working at the NWS etc.
What I’m trying to say is that despite the fact that some very few amateur forecasters hype up storms to drive ratings or site traffic etc, the vast majority of armchair mets do not fall into that category and it is unfair to criticize any and all of us who don’t have diplomas hanging on our walls (yet) or work at a big name institution. There are a collection of excellent articles about the most famous hypester, Kevin Martin, and his asinine effect on pro mets which I highly recommend reading, but to criticize all of us armchair mets is unfair.
Here are the links to the articles I have found debunking K-marts hoaxes. (They’re definately worth a read if you have the time)
This will be my last post until September 2nd when school starts unless there is anything noteworthy to talk about.