9.3 The Great Facebook Blizzard of 2014

Friday, 20 June 2014: 9:00 AM
Alpine Ballroom (Resort at Squaw Creek)
Dan Satterfield, WBOC, Salisbury, MD

Private (and NWS )forecasters were swamped with questions after a series of rumors began circulating (in late January of this year) that a major blizzard was forecast.

This paper looks at the causes of this rumor, and how easy online access to raw numerical weather prediction models, combined with a growing number of amateur online forecasting sites/Facebook etc. were major contributing factors. Some online blog posts from TV meteorologists in the southeastern U.S. were also a factor.

This episode calls for a hard look at how model uncertainty is communicated to the public, and an examination of best practices that could help prevent a similar episode in the future.

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