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Are Amateur Facebook Weather Forecasts Causing Panic?

NWS NJ Map
National Weather Service

Have you seen a lot of posts from your friends on Facebook lately that make it seem like an epic snowpocalypse is imminent?

You may have seen a lot of confusing looking maps, a lot of references to “European models”, “isobars”, and “12Z GFS”, which all sounds very impressive, but is basically just causing people to panic.

It’s great to have a hobby, and many amateur meteorologists have spent a lot of time observing, learning, and gathering information for fun.

But there’s a reason that qualified meteorologists have the jobs that they do – they’ve been trained, accredited, and have years of experience. Even the most respected and experienced meteorologists will tell you that predicting the weather is a hit and miss, inexact science.

But this recent spate of amateurs posting to social media, gaining a following, and subsequently having those followers repeat and repost their untrained predictions is kind of concerning.

Look at it this way – if someone had a hobby of studying human anatomy that they’d been interested in for years, would you let them take your appendix out? I’m willing to bet that you’d go for the trained and licensed doctor, right?

A hobby that you share among your friends is one thing, but when you give yourself fancy titles and present your untrained guesses publicly, it could border on inciting panic.

As I’ve said before, we should all be careful with what we post online publicly.

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