It seems that every year around this time the Internet is flooded with long-range winter forecasts. These forecasts attempt to predict temperatures, precipitation amounts, and even precipitation types. Long-range forecasting involves trying to predict the overall jet stream pattern and meteorologists use teleconnections (El Nino, La Nina, NAO, etc.) to try and predict this pattern.
Most meteorologists who put out winter forecasts acknowledge that seasonal forecasting can be very difficult (and inaccurate). These forecasters are responsible in putting out their forecast in that they advise the public that the forecast should be used only as guidance, not as a prediction set in stone.
Unfortunately, for all of the responsible meteorologists out here, there are numerous irresponsible individuals who will put out a bogus winter forecast just to stir up hype. Many of these fake forecasts are not even produced by actual meteorologists. The latest bogus forecast that is making its rounds around the Internet is an article on EmpireNews titled, “Meteorologists Predict Record-Shattering Snowfall Coming Soon.” The phony graphic included in the article predicts above-average snowfall for nearly the entire country.
This article appears legitimate at first glance, but upon further review the entire forecast is fake. The article begins by attempting to scare readers with predictions of apocalyptic snowfall amounts.
“For the sake of comparison to the past winter, lets say that your area received a total of twenty inches of accumulative snow for the season. Because this year the snowfall is predicted to start by the end of September or the beginning of October, you can expect to multiply that number by up to five, ten, maybe even twenty times in some areas. In the worst zones, you could see 50 times the amount of snow you’ve had in the past.”
The forecast includes comments from “Edward F. Blankenbaker”, Senior Administrator of Meteorologists and “Dr. Boris Scvediok,” a doctor of global weather sciences. As it turns out, a little research reveals that these meteorologists are not real people, only fake names.
To top it all off, the forecast even states that the FDA is predicting a shortage of milk and bread across the country.
“Along with the mention of severe winter weather, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) predicts supply and demand could cause shortages, causing the prices of bread and milk to increase substantially. FDA spokesperson Rebecca Miller suggests alternatives in preparation of the coming months.”
Bogus winter forecasts like these go to show that just because a forecast is online does not make it true. Anybody can post anything on the Internet, and many people use fake weather articles as a way to stir up hype and drive people to their site. It is important to check the credentials of any forecast you come across online. You will usually find that it’s very easy to separate the fake from the real.