Is the weather over-hyped beyond belief?

Back in the day, you used to get your weather news from the radio, the newspaper, or on network news channels. Anyone remember that?

As recent as the 90’s to early 2000’s – weather as we know it – was limited to just a few outlets like your evening news. That, plus the hardly-watched weather channel. Sure, some weather hobbyists knew better than those bobble-heads on TV, but they had no outlet other than their direct circle of acquaintances to spread their information. It was before the internet became ubiquitous.

Network TV had about two minutes to discuss the weather. And they told you what they thought would happen. They didn’t have the ability (time constraints) to tell you about OTHER possible outcomes. That’s what weather aficionados do, and are often much more accurate than those characters on TV. Again, before light-speed communications.

Then all of a sudden, everyone had weather apps and feeds!

As the internet, social media, and app-store craze BLEW UP, it created a new trend of “weather experts.” Who, in the past few years, took to social media to promote their brand. “Too many weather chefs in the kitchen!”

weather appAs expected – you had a plethora of channels and personalities that focused solely on “weather” in a particular area. That is what happens with social media. You get all sorts of niches of various special interests. (Along with the “fear porn” style over-hype that accompanies it.)

The cliche properly expounds – when you have too many chefs in the kitchen – the food becomes inconsistent. Due to the battling egos and ideas creating the output. Whether it’s the whole “first” curse, or like we said before – “fear porn” ruffling feathers and getting people riled up.

The same can be said about information propagation in the wild west of the internet (especially social media).

All of a sudden – everyone can access all the weather models, maps, and predictions. And they all believe one is truer than the other. Battles ensue! Feelings get hurt! Anger and resentment grow!

Instead of just a passion for a topic like weather, it becomes an ego-driven competition which clouds people’s focus on the topic at hand (pun unintentional).

Gosh, they’re just maps and projections. Nothing more. All based on computer models that a human being programmed.

These weather networks have even created 90-day forecasts. I could employ a monkey with bananas and a dart board and have an equal chance at getting the same accuracy. No frickin’ way you can accurately predict the weather that far out – even with a 10% success rate! I’d never plan my wedding with that forecast! Ha!

It’s funny – that most of the time, weather aficionados typically root for the computer forecasting models that “SLAM” their area more than others. Seems odd, as no one should truly WANT any bad weather at their own house – but most of the weather geeks LOVE that. So never take a weather GEEK’S advice seriously.

Social media forecasters

Part of those “chefs” include Twitter forecasters and other social media sites. Many people subscribe because they feel like they need to. It’s exciting to most people because those feed-owners know how to hype according to the book of marketing!

But those early Twitter channels were not dumb in any sense. They figured out a way to create a following based on interest (and due to the slow disconnection from MSM.) So it became a brand, along with some emotional manipulation. A fascinating future case-study in some psychology class, no?

They’re wrong most of the time

snowfall map(Hint: “FIRST!”)

Almost all of the social media forecasters LOVE posting “gloom and doom” forecasts (for clicks and attention).

Whether it’s hurricane tracks, storm surge maps, or snowfall maps – they get their rocks off on MAXIMUM impact. “Oooh, it’s so scary!”

Most of them get it wrong 100% of the time. Why? Because it’s not profitable to sell “average” news.

And almost always, they love propagating the WORST CASE SCENARIO instead of what is deemed to “most likely” scenario. It’s human nature to peddle the horror instead of the likely.

How they don’t entirely discredit themselves after each blunder is inexplicable to us. Heck, I guess people don’t throw out broken clocks because they’re accurate twice a day? Who knows!

People used to understand what the seasons had in store

All of us have lived through countless storms. Blizzards. And so on. Life goes on, doesn’t it?

Each season brings different possibilities.

  • Winter has their inconvenient snow events (drive slower).
  • Spring is generally less disruptive, but maybe some strong rains.
  • Summer has it’s torrential tropical thunderstorms and lightning spectaculars.
  • And Fall has not much other than a late-season nor’easter along with the changing of the leaves.

Most people used to just know that.

Today? Everything is overly dramatic. Have you seen the headlines?

Like “Arctic Blast!,” or “Storms Slam!,” or “NJ BRACES for Winter Storm NEO!” and so on. Reality or Hollywood-style reality show? Why such dramatic verbiage?

If and when we do bring up the weather on, it certainly won’t be to spread fear and unnecessary information. We might document some things for posterity. Perhaps it might be interesting to see how people handled the numerous Nor’Easters that passed through recently, who knows. We had some down trees and power-outages ourselves, but that is par for the course, and we’re not crying too hard about it enough to make it an issue.

We’ll see what happens. We put this category on this site as a placeholder for future posts. I suppose there may be some localized infrastructure issues that pertain to the weather. Especially in flood zones near the Raritan River and other problematic areas. But what more can you say about it?

In the end, the weather is something that knows equality like no other

Regardless of whether weather (word-play on purpose) is one of the many subjective victims of the curse of technological advancement – I guess it is still one of those things that everyone has in common. That is why it’s often one of the first ice-breakers in conversation. (i.e., “great weather, huh?”)

Weather (good or bad) does not discriminate. The have’s and the have-not’s all got the same weather that Mother Nature doles out.

And that should make everyone happy. (Unless you’re living on the street – in which case, Florida is a better option if you can swing that…)

We as humans just deal with the hand that our planet dishes out. At least that’s how we like to think about it. Another way to build character through experience, either good or bad.

(But please don’t get us started on what happens as a result of the weather… and the “complaints” about government reaction – that’s a story for another day!)

Hope everyone enjoys the spring and upcoming summer of 2018!

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About the author


NJroute22 (site admin) is an avid traveler along NJ Route 22 (and almost all of central New Jersey!) Family man, pet lover, and property owner who has a natural curiosity for everything around.

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