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There's rampant speculation around social media right now that there's going to be a historic, blockbuster winter storm that affect over two-thirds of the United States east of the Rockies next week. It is a hoax. There will not be a "historic" winter storm next week. They don't even hint at a sizable storm in the long range.

The hoax is being perpetrated by an infamous conspiracy theory website called "The Weather Space," run by a man named Kevin Martin. K-Mart is a fake "meteorologist" who thrives on creating hoax weather forecasts in order to drive page hits to his website for ad revenue, and it also serves to try to destroy the credibility of actual weather forecasters. He peddles in weather control conspiracy theories (HAARP and "chemtrails" mostly) and tries to mimic the National Weather Service's official forecasts to try to confuse the public.

If you ever run across anything from his websites "The Weather Space" or "Ontario Weather Service," trust me: it's going to be a) wrong and b) a hoax to drive page hits and up ad revenue.

EDIT: It's been brought to my attention that Ontario Weather Service doesn't exist anymore. The site is "Southern California Weather Authority."

Only trust weather forecasts put out by reputable organizations like the National Weather Service or your local news stations.

But to address how unfounded these rumors are, take a look at this morning's run of the GFS model, which is one of the only models free to the public that goes out (with wild inaccuracy) more than a week.

The analysis below isn't a forecast -- I'm directly reading what this morning's run of the GFS model says. Meteorologists provide added value to model output. They read the models and determine what their strengths and weaknesses are, and write their forecast from there.

Meteorology 101 teaches you not to read the models verbatim, but that's exactly what I'm going to do in this diary. I'm doing this to show that Kevin Martin is pulling this "storm" out of his ass. He can't say "well the models said..." because they don't.

The summary is that there is a chance for thunderstorms, rain, and snow over the next couple of days before it gets very, very cold next week. Lake effect snow could be a problem in the Great Lakes region, especially on the eastern edge of Lake Ontario which has virtually no ice cover right now.

Here's March 1, this Saturday. You can see that there's a very tight pressure gradient over the Rockies as a low pressure center moves into southeastern Idaho, and there's a low pressure system sitting off the coast of California that might bring the region some much-needed rain, but other than that the weather is unremarkable. The east coast is covered by a ridge of high pressure that will keep the weather calm. If anything, it'll be comfortably warm as wind and moisture pumps in off the Gulf of Mexico.

March 2, this Sunday. You can see that a cold front is pushing down into the region of high pressure which will allow temperatures to start to drop again. You can see a weak low pressure system starting to develop over Oklahoma which will become the dominant weather feature of the week. Precipitation will occur along or near the warm from that extends from central OK up through central West Virginia. North of it there will probably be some snow/wintry mix, south of it all rain. No big deal.

March 3, next Monday. The low pressure books it northeast into West Virginia, ushering in cold air behind it through the central United States along with high pressure that will kill any chances for precip as long as it sticks around. There could be some strong thunderstorms across the southeast as the cold front moves through.

March 4, one week from today. High pressure dominates most of the eastern 2/3 of the country. There could be some residual storms along the Gulf Coast and some light, insignificant snow in the Northeast.

Skip ahead to March 6, next Thursday. High pressure continues to dominate most of the United States. The model is predicting extreme cold , with sub-zero temperatures reaching Kansas through Ohio. This could be overdone by the model though. There could also be some heavy lake effect snow east of Lake Ontario with the long fetch across the water.

Friday March 7. This is 10 days from this morning. The weather models have little accuracy at this extended range. The GFS model is trying to spin up a coastal storm off of North Carolina that, according to the model, would bring some snow to NC, VA, and the Delmarva Peninsula. Theoretically it could happen, but it's 10 days out and the storm is hauling ass. Temperatures in the area are between 30-40 degrees -- most of what would fall is rain -- and the sun angle in March would make it very hard for snow to stick if it were to fall. This is the only major storm that the models show during this time period, and even it's sketchy at best.

In fact, here are the model predicted snow totals for the next 5 days from the same run of the GFS model this morning. As with the model images above, this doesn't give you the whole story because it's direct model output and has zero value added from actual meteorologists. It shows some snow, but nothing out of the ordinary for late February.

(Note: I can tell you right now that a lot of that snow over Missouri is overdone -- especially the "bullseye" in extreme southeastern Missouri.)

So there you have it. Even a basic reading of pure model output (with almost zero value added) shows no humongous, historic, blockbuster storms between now and March 8. Kevin Martin pulled that "forecast" out of his ass. No weather models support even a sentence of what he's saying.

Please be careful what you share on social media -- not everyone knows The Weather Space is a conspiracy/fake website. When people believe this stuff and it doesn't happen, they attribute it to meteorologists being liars instead of the work of a huckster.

Be careful what you read, be careful whose sites you click, and cross-reference the hysteria before you share or retweet it on social media.

If you want to follow real weather information on social media, follow me on Facebook and Twitter.  (How's that for a shameless plug?)

3:40 PM PT: Tamar posted this link from the in the comments section. A few years back, the National Weather Service had to issue a statement regarding Kevin Martin and his weather forecasts that are specifically designed to confuse the public and think that his forecasts are "official."


SUBJECT: Clarification on Sources of Weather Information  

NWS, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration has no association with the Southern
California Weather Authority or with Mr. Kevin Martin or any other
staff of the Southern California Weather Authority.  Weather
forecast and warning products developed and distributed by Mr.
Martin or the Southern California Weather Authority may have
formatting or contain content that could visually be confused with
that of the National Weather Service.  Regardless of formatting or
content, Mr. Martin’s weather products have no connection with nor
are they the products of the National Weather Service.

NWS is the sole official voice of the U.S. Government for warnings
of hazardous weather, including tornadoes, hurricanes, winter
storms, floods and others.  NWS encourages the media and others to
distribute NWS warnings and other hazardous weather products
widely to aid public safety.  

NWS also respects the rights of individuals, companies, and other
organizations to produce weather information of their own and to
use NWS information to help them do so, including those who choose
to produce weather information regarding weather hazards; however,
it is important to distinguish official products that are produced
and issued by the National Weather Service from weather
information produced by others that is NOT produced by NWS.  It is
especially important to avoid any confusion between NWS warnings
and those that might be produced by others.  

4:32 PM PT: UPDATE: Kevin Martin contacted me through Facebook demanding that I take down this post, but rather than take it down and in the spirit of fairness (though I believe none is deserved in this case), I'll present his claims the way he presented them to me and let you be the judge.

Mr. Martin claims that the website that originally published the article in question -- "Northeast US Weather" -- rents server space from his company The Weather Space (TWS). He claims that when a site overloads on his company's servers, it redirects back to his company's Facebook page. If you try to view the post I wrote about in this diary, this is what you get instead:

Mr. Martin goes on to say that "I have no control over NESC. He's 17 years old and rents space with me."

So you're either getting weather information from Mr. Martin and his questionable operation that hosts other questionable operations, or you're getting it from a 17-year-old high school kid.

Either way, a smart and discerning reader should choose to go with professionals at the National Weather Service or your local television station instead.

Wed Feb 26, 2014 at 10:58 AM PT: February 26 update: Since this post is still on the rec list and people are coming in from Facebook, I thought I'd give an update.

Models still look pretty dull. As I mentioned yesterday in the section around March 4-6, there could be some insignificant snow in the northeastern US towards the end of next week as a low develops in the Atlantic, but nothing massive and certainly nothing that'll paralyze everyone east of Kansas.

Originally posted to El Blogo de Weatherdudeo on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 01:40 PM PST.

Also republished by Science Matters and San Diego Kossacks.

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