BogusSnowMapThis snow map is bogus and a repeat of what has been posted in past years! It has been sent in so many times by so many people, I had to address it. As summer draws to an end and schools begin, there is a lot of interest in jumping seasons to find out how winter will behave. September often brings a second surge of summer heat (as we have in the eastern US as I write this), but also a barrage of outlooks for snow.  Combine that with the power of social media and push to get stories to go viral, and there is a powder keg of potentially bad information making meteorologists and journalists trying to play catch up. But what happens if some of those journalists share the information without confirming legitimacy first.

This image here was shared by a popular radio station last month and it did go viral. I ignored it, and because I realize they may not have realized the history of it, I do not want to list their call letters here and embarrass them.  People make mistakes. But the image was reposted repeatedly and I figured it was time to repeat what I did last year. Point out the origin (at least where I first saw it) and inform those that really care to look elsewhere.  Sure, I love snow (Faith-in-the-Flakes*). But I am also responsible with my outlooks and accountable for my forecasting as well as the information I share. A few weeks ago I did share the two winter outlooks from “competing farmers almanacs“, but there is a long history of those publications with more details in their prints.

BogusWinterArticle2014The bogus map in question was first seen by Empire News in their September 2014 report. It is a satire based web site that often posts stories that are on the edge of belief. Whether they do it for the humor or otherwise, it does get attention. When you are stuck in a boring day of work or need a laugh anytime, I get the need to read something written well for entertainment. Last year I wrote this response to this to highlight the information that was close to being believable but not accurate. It seems like the latest round of image submissions was cropped to cut off their banner at the bottom, thus no credit at all attributed. That is almost as bad as the prior winter when a teenager posted a rogue computer model and made an epic snow forecast for weeks away. That information spread so far and fast, the many broadcasters were forecast to respond on TV to squash rumors the concerned viewers.

Please be careful of what you will see on your news feeds. I made the transition from old TV media to social media in one part because I like to share and promote others. You can have so many windows open on your browser at one time, and I like to play along by encourage my readers to read more. I do not have the only opinion on a topic or forecast. It is best that you search around and cool to share interesting stories. But that also means to make sure that you know who is writing what you see. Please check maps for logos and credit. Please check the web site for legitimacy or satire. Please share this story, or just tell you friends to pay attention.  Snow is serious business and can be exciting, but should not be used to mislead people.

My Winter Outlook?

It is still too early in my humble opinion to make a solid call. I believe the weather pattern has hints that show up during the fall. So usually between the end of October and early November is when I feel comfortable making a call on seasonal snow.  But there are things that can be discussed before then. Yes, we have El Nino building now. But how strong will it be and how will that interact with other global patterns?  That is what I will be discussing next. I hope you check back for that.

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