HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Amid weather related deaths, school closings and delays, children and teachers forced to sleep in their classrooms, hundreds abandoning their vehicles on major highways and Birmingham television meteorologists issuing blanket apologies to their audiences – it’s not hard to see why a forecast model ostensibly indicating the potential for heavy southern snow late next week would have people feeling a little trepidatious.
The major takeaway? “It’s all speculation,” Simpson says.
“There is a huge difference between modeling and forecasts because a model is a tool you use to build a forecast,” Simpson explains.
Jason explains in his blog post in no uncertain terms there is no “forecast” for a big snow storm, so anyone that tries to tell you that says it’s a sure thing is ‘not really shooting you straight.’
Jason says Facebook and social media sharing have fueled the fire of unwarranted fear mongering.
“Sometimes when things are so fantastic on some of those longer-range model plots, the social media fire get out ahead of you and you have to make a response to it,” Simpson explains. “Whether you really want to or not and whether you feel like anybody’s opinion about what you’ve done really matters, it’s something you have to respond to because we are in a two-way business.”
Communication comes part and parcel with broadcast television by nature and quite frankly, by design.
There are weather enthusiasts out there who, no matter what, will talk about it on social media. Simpson says the banter is not only interesting – it’s a responsibility.
“If we choose to ignore them and choose to tell them ‘don’t worry about it, it’ll go away,’ and we don’t give them a real answer, don’t give them anything to really chew on and don’t give them any context to what they are looking at, I think we are doing them a disservice,” Simpson concludes.
You can read Simpson’s commentary and blog posts from the rest of WHNT News 19′s award-winning meteorology team on Valleywx.com.