It is no secret that the number and average quality of "forecasting" personalities on social media has gone through some changes over the last year or so. Recently, this has become even more evident with rogue personalities posting worst case scenario model output without fully understanding what it is. As a result the weather hype machine has been accelerated to a forward speed that we have rarely seen in the past. I do not think this problem is likely remedy it's self. Why? Because people like hype and will continue to return to it. From a forecasting standpoint, this makes no logical sense. This does however seem to be human nature. The evidence is in the insane number of followers that some of these personalities have. "Weatherboy Weather" alone on Facebook has over 150,000 likes. These large followings makes it difficult for other forecasting operations, such as other legit social media personalities and even the National Weather Service, to carry out their mission ... keep the public informed of impending dangerous weather, while keeping them calm. The one thing that I think has yet to be seen is how these pages are going to behave in severe weather situations. It is one thing to track a snowstorm from days out, but severe weather forecasting is an entirely different animal. You can’t go to the ECMWF and get a tornado track plot or a chart of model produced hail reports, like you can a total accumulated snowfall chart. Ideally these pages will realize they are in over their heads and grow more quite during the warm season ... essentially meaning that their hype would just be something to be dealt with from November - March.
In my opinion, if this hype machine continues chugging ahead during severe season then we could face a much bigger problem. What if once SPC starts honking on an event in the 4-6 day time frame and these rogue pages start highlighting half the region of interest for a "major tornado outbreak" or a derecho. Worse yet, what if they start using radar data as evidence that an EF-4/5 tornado is headed for xyz town and advising people to flee in their vehicles? Wait, didn't we see that last severe season in Oklahoma? In a way, I think the professional community is somewhat responsible for starting the problem that we are now facing. We have some big names in the business playing right into the hype and non-science aspect of things. The Weather Channel is naming winter storms, Accuweather is claiming they can forecast exact numbers out to 45 days, etc. We stared encouraging the birth of these new "forecasters" a while ago. So now for the million dollar question. What do we, as the meteorological community, do to fix this problem that we kind of helped to create in the first place? Do we band together and start calling out these absurd forecasts publicly? Do we just let them carry on and hope they just go away?