The Art of Weather Communication

Even though it’s only February 3rd, it will not be long before much of the nation is dealing with the threat of the Spring severe weather season. Social media will light up with warnings, storm chaser pictures, and unfortunately some tragic outcomes as well. I am a Weather Geek at heart but I rarely cheer for storms because I know they can cause significant harm.

One thing that I have noticed in recent years is that our scientific and technical capabilities to predict tornado storms, floods, and hurricanes continue to improve. However, some of the most significant challenges now are related to how the threats are communicated and how people perceive them. The “Art of Communicating Weather Threats” is a vital topic, and one that we have pondered from several perspectives on past episodes of Weather Geeks.

Take the 2016 Louisiana Floods. There was a ton of meteorological data that pointed to a really big event. However, it was not uncommon to hear statements like this from people that were impact, “we get big flood and warnings all of the time, didn’t think this one would be different.” Such challenges along with public misunderstanding of things like uncertainty, warning polygons, and storm track variability makes for an interesting task for today’s meteorologists. The massive information “firehose” of social media also complicates matters.

This week on Weather Geeks I ask three veteran meteorologists what their canvas and palette looks like when they are dealing with the art of weather communication. I am joined by Janice Huff (Chief Meteorologist at WNBC, New York), Jen Carfagno (Weather Channel Meteorologist and one of the hosts of AMHQ), and Ginger Zee (Chief Meteorologist at ABC News and Good Morning America).

Between the three of them, there is well over 50 years of experience and they have seen the evolution of the field. As a tip on how excited weather fans should be about this episode, one of the show producers said, “within the first 3 minutes of taping, I knew this was going to be an epic one.”

Join us Sunday, February 5th on The Weather Channel. Weather Geeks airs at Noon ET (11 am CT, 10 am MT, 9 am PT).


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4 Comments


  1. What an impeccable timing, Dr. Shepherd! This is totally perfect on a day for all weather geeks.

    On behalf of all fellow meteorologists, especially the weather women, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a Happy National Weatherpersons’ Day! Since this day falls on a Sunday, a plethora of us have the joviality to celebrate today and/or officially observe it tomorrow. That is jocosely fantastic. #myfavoritewxday 😀

    Meteorologists exist across our nation today for a plethora of reasons. Foremost, they inspire us to strive for all that we can be. In addition, they love to share with us inspirational stories, stupendous moments caught on tape, and memorable images using the finest resources they have at their disposal. Most of all, they are here to serve us the public because they care about us. #wxpeoplehavetenderhearts 🙂

    National Weatherpersons’ Day 2017 is important this year because we honor all the female meteorologists across our nation. For all fellow weather geeks like me, I wish that we not only have more women in STEM but also witness their dreams come true. After all, female meteorologists prove continuously that they are just as terrific as anybody else. I give all the #wxwomen 10 out 10 stars. #wxgirlsrule

    As a freelance meteorologist, I have a zealous passion for meteorology. In fact, I would love to share it with you now. I have been a colossal fan and supporter of The Weather Channel; and I hope that you feel that way too. Bring it on!

    The Weather Channel sparked my passion for weather. In fact, I have watched TWC since the very beginning. Furthermore, I have been studying weather since I was three years old. I love asking people questions about weather, giving the forecast, mentoring people how to be safe and ready when inclement weather happens, providing frequent weather updates, and tracking severe weather. Concisely, I am a colossal weather nerd. #wxgeekforlife

    I take this time to express my colossal gratitude for your valiant vigilance around the clock to protect my family, my friends, and me from the worst inclemency possible. I further thank of all of you sincerely for your tenacious prowess daily when it comes to our ever-changing weather. You are my benevolent superheroes. #heroesforlife 😉

    National Weatherpersons’ Day is our day to jovially embrace our endeavoring zeal for weather. Thus, let us forever be grateful for our service to everyone. Thank you! #wxholiday 🙂

    1. Heatherlandskro, I recorded today’s episode of _Weather Geeks_; and I watched it from the beginning. It was wonderful. Please enjoy. #wxgeekforlife 😉

  2. I was affected by the flooding in La. I honestly do not remember any “Big Flood” warnings. Yes, there were flood warnings, the USUAL “if you live in low lying areas” type warnings that NEVER had caused such problems before. So Dr. Shepherd, you were right, we get those warnings ALL the time. By watching the radar, I knew this one was different & that we might flood. Too many people did NOT see that radar & thought ‘the usual’ & paid dearly for that. If there were “Big Flood” warnings, my apologies, I just don’t remember.