OK

There's a lot of hype talk on the weather pages of Facebook, Twitter, and the rest of the interwebs about an impending Big Blizzard Thing™ that could impact the megalopolis next week.

Let's break it down with bullet points:

  • It's a week away, and a lot changes over a week.
  • The models aren't quite agreeing with each other right now. Some of the dependable models are showing a ton of snow from DC to NYC, while other aren't even showing a dusting.
  • Any storm is still a week away.
  • Even if Big Blizzard Thing™ #3 does play out in some way, it won't be as bad as Big Blizzard Thing #1 (the Nor'Easter that dumped 40" of snow).
  • This hypothetical event in the models is still a week away.
  • It's March. Snowstorms have a harder time forming this time of year than they do in January, so more things in the atmosphere have to cooperate to get a blockbuster blizzard that would be easier to come by in the dead of winter.
  • One whole week. Seven days. Seven. Days.
  • As I've said for years now, the weather pages and companies (*cough* WEATHER CHANNEL *cough*) that hype storms up a week in advance know this basic formula:

    Hype + Snow + Amplification (likes/shares/retweets) = KA-CHING!

    There's a difference between trying to grow a page for the benefit of others or the benefit of oneself. Those pages who implore you to REC AND SHARE THIS UP!!! are, for all intents and purposes, ego mongers who use you for your connections. The other pages like Brad Panovich or James Spann or weatherdude from DailyKos (hint hint) are in it to actually help people.

  • That being said, there is a chance that a snowstorm could hit the major cities along the east coast. We'll have to wait to see how consistent the model runs are over the weekend. The model doing really well lately, the European model (ECMWF), is being really bullish with this storm, which is why so many people are getting worked up. Even the best model gets it wrong sometimes. It takes a multiple data points to make a trend. If it's still showing this system by tomorrow night and Sunday, that's when we need to start paying close attention and spreading the word.

I get so antsy about "hype" because more times than I can remember there have been big storms spun up in the models, everyone freaks out, nothing happens, and people start to tune out. You want to save the crying wolf for when something really could happen. Just last week the models were showing a blizzard down here in Mobile AL. Really. And people freaked out about it. Right now it's mostly cloudy and 61 cool degrees with nary a snowflake to be seen.

It's worth watching but not worth freaking out about, because it's seven days away and we need to see a trend in the models. A lot changes in seven days. I'm not saying it can't or won't happen, but it's still a whole week away.

To boil it down to a silly internet meme,Meteorology Memes posted this the other day and it's more relevant than ever:


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Who's naming system is better -- The Weather(tainment) Channel's or Mine?

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