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).