5 mistakes to avoid as you monitor Hurricane Joaquin

5 mistakes to avoid as you monitor Hurricane Joaquin

Hurricane Joaquin … brings a host of speculation, innuendo, and “social media-rologist” opinions about the storm. Motivated by this reality, I discuss 5 mistakes to avoid as you consume meteorological and preparation information about Joaquin.

1. Don’t Forget the Bahamas. The people of the Bahamas are currently feeling the brunt of a rather sluggish Category 3 hurricane. The National Hurricane Center’s latest forecast discussion (5 am, October 1st) points out:

The slow motion of Joaquin will mean a prolonged period of hurricane conditions in portions of the central Bahamas, along with very heavy rain and storm surge.
It is important to remember, as with Hurricane Sandy, that many people in the Caribbean region take the first brunt of these storms.

2. Don’t Get 1-Model Tunnel Vision. As a meteorologist and former President of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), I am thrilled there is so much enthusiasm for a subject that I have been passionate about since 6th grade. However, this comes with a problem. There is a host of misinformation that gets posted by what we referred to as “social media-rologists” on a past episode of Weather Channel’s WxGeeks. One of the biggest violations is people posting 1 model’s projected forecast. This is dangerous and irresponsible without proper context. Meteorologists use a hosts of weather models that may have different assumptions, physics, and initial conditions. By now, you have likely seen typical Spaghetti Plots showing various model projections. For Joaquin, the National Hurricane Center notes:

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