Spotting Bogus Weather Forecasts 101

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The image below shows a Facebook Weather Page forecast which generated over 6,000 shares talking about a major snowstorm bringing a foot of snow to Oklahoma which was going to happen this weekend (posted originally on November 15). Obviously, if you haven’t figured it out, this isn’t happening and nothing close to it will come to fruition. All professional wx sources called for beautiful weather through Thanksgiving weekend because that’s what data was overwhelmingly pointing towards.

The fact this post went so viral is a great teachable moment on choosing your weather info sources wisely.

A bogus weather forecast is going to have a combo of the following criteria:

1 – Its very specific many days in advance. This one was very specific 10 days out with specific snowfall amounts.

2 – It was the only source saying this. The weather enterprise is really good, no one has access to extra hidden data and usually when something big shows up consistently, everyone notices.

3 – It was particularly over the top doom and gloom. The worst case scenario DOES sometime happen, and when a real doom forecast is universally being talked about by multiple sources close to an event (think a day or two or so), then its time to start preparing to take action.

Think before you share

If you are on social media and you share weather info, you are officially a weather source! Its a big responsibility we know, but here are two steps to know when to share and when to discount:

1 – Is the source from someone credible? (If no, don’t share)
2 – Is this something you’ve seen other credible people also saying? (If no, don’t share)

Diversify your sources

Make sure you have more than one really good source of weather info. We recommend your local NWS office as the first and foremost starting point. Local media is usually really good as well. Sometimes bloggers and internet people are credible, but the danger does rise in getting false info here.

Watch what you share, take a bit and think through what someone is saying, and realize there’s a lot of people looking to scare you into hitting like on social media!

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