A common idea circulating—will warm weather curtail the novel coronavirus? Assumptions are being made. Social media aggravates misinformation at times when facts are most important. The greatest enemy to scientists in crises is the spread of rumors and innuendo during situations that require clear, actionable information. Meteorologists frequently remind, no two storms are the same, comparisons are irresponsible and doing so sets the stage for harmful consequences. The medical field faces a similar messaging challenge.
By: Dr. Josh Eachus
FLASH FLOOD WARNING! (But, you don’t have to worry about this one)
Within the next few weeks, the National Weather Service (NWS) will be implementing Impact-Based Flash Flood Warnings. The goals are to provide easily readable information and to improve public response. However, like most weather messaging, some significant efforts will be needed to avert confusion.
By: Robert Prestley
During hurricanes, broadcast meteorologists take on a leading role as risk communicators. They not only provide information about the event; they also act to interpret the information in to frameworks viewers can understand, urge action among viewers, and act as an emotional support for communities in dire straits. In order to perform these varied tasks, broadcast meteorologists rely on a number of linguistic tools. They might use figurative language to explain complex meteorological phenomena, or express their own emotions (like concern, disbelief, and hope) to relate with their viewers.
I was looking for images to include in this post and happened to come upon this tweet exchange with the late Matt Parker. His wisdom continues to influence myself and hopefully many others.
If there’s one thing meteorologists like more than the weather…. It’s commenting on how people react and respond to the weather. I’m guilty of it. You’re guilty of it. We’ve all taken some pleasure in joining in a group condemnation of some poor soul who drove their car around barriers and into flood waters, ultimately ending up sitting on top of their vehicle, shamefully waiting to be rescued. And that’s one of the better case scenarios.
Meteorological Twitter has been pretty quiet of late. In fact, the only real “hot-topic” cooking up is about heat—no surprise in the summer months. This subject is revisited every summer and it often has to do with criteria. What constitutes a heat advisory? How about an excessive heat warning? As the weather wise know, answers to those questions vary based on location. But there are some broader points to the heat narrative that inspire further discussion. Scientists always seem to want hard and fast rules—or certain thresholds. Does a certain ambient temperature need to be reached? Should it simply focus on heat index? How does time factor into the equation?
By: Dr. Josh Eachus
((As seen on wbrz.com))
Louisiana and Mississippi are among the most hurricane prone areas in the nation. Every year, various media outlets, including the WBRZ Weather Team, spend hours piecing together special broadcasts, news reports and online content all in advance of the season. Year after year and story after story, the message is sent, repeated, suddenly jumbled and eventually lost.
By: Josh Eachus
As early as 1961, Charles Fritz expressed a need for people and pertinent practitioners to understand the anatomy of a disaster in order to fully grasp the human psychological and societal impacts they present. Many associate disaster with earth processes such as weather and climate. However, it is possible for earthquakes and hurricanes to occur without affecting people. If a tree falls…
By: Matt Bolton
Weather is important to all people, whether they realize it or not. It affects them physically and psychologically on small scales (e.g., in behavior and clothing choice), and on large scales (economies, critical infrastructure, etc.). Within this is the widespread occurrence of extreme weather threats across the United States.
I’m sick of seeing snow totals maps. Perhaps more than anything else in the industry, they perpetuate a perception that forecasters don’t know what they’re doing. Yet we continue to indulge.