WACO, Texas – It’s often difficult to differentiate between Facebook hype and actual thought-out forecasts posted online by local meteorologists, but there are a few things you can look for to tell the difference between the two.
We’ve all seen it before. A social media post talking about snow a week and a half out goes viral – but when the day in question comes around, it’s sunny with a high well above freezing.
“They can just take a screenshot and say, ‘Yeah, this is what’s going to happen.’ And hype it up and concern the people and the public with just one piece of information compared to all the other information. They’re not going to share the one that says no snow, right? They’re always going to try and show the worst case scenario,” says Patricia Sanchez, a Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.
So how do you tell the difference between a hyped up weather post and an actual forecast?
First, look at the date they are talking about. If they mention a weather event a week and a half out, it’s probably a hype post.
“We try and tell people to try and think twice and take a look at how the image looks and how far away the information is. Anybody can post and try to get the attention with all that information. We all have to work together to differentiate between one piece of information and the other,” says Sanchez.
These posts don’t just happen with winter weather. They can happen year round with any kind of significant weather event.
“It’s happened before with severe weather and hurricanes. They always take a look at the worst case scenario just because they want to get the attention. That doesn’t mean it might happen. It might not. It’s just a piece of information in combination of all the model forecasts. It can just be a tool in the tool box to make the actual forecast and see what could really happen,” says Sanchez.