There’s no better way to get attention in a crowded room or social media space than to exclaim a four-letter word. It may not be positive attention, but it is attention. Before your mind runs too far with that, let me clarify. The four-letter word I’m talking about is SNOW. Let me clarify further: This is not a forecast!
It was supposed to have snowed last week — that’s “supposed to” if you believe everything you see on social media. In weather, nothing is supposed to happen, it is predicted to happen. Based on questions on my Facebook page, some people were hopeful for snow. My four-letter word response was “nope.” Snow is infrequent on the Gulf Coast, so any mention of it evokes anticipation, fascination, excitement, intrigue and, for some, dread. Children dream of making snow angels on a day off from school. Adults hope to break out the holiday-themed outfits and take selfies with snowmen. Tow-truck drivers prepare for overtime.
If you’ve lived in northern parts of the U.S., you know snow as flakes of ice crystals that fall for a while and coat the ground, often adding up to several inches and sometimes more than a foot.
On the Gulf Coast, we are more likely to get sleet or snow flurries than snow. Flurries are flakes in the air that do not accumulate on the ground. None of that happened last week, but either may happen once or twice a winter.
Apparently some social media sites posted the tiny probability of sleet or flurries. I’m guessing they left off the “tiny” part. I don’t know, because I don’t follow those sites! Here are reminders I posted on my Facebook page:
“A flake or two in the air is not a snowstorm. Computer model displays online and on your phone usually don’t tell you if it’s one snowflake in a bunch of hours or a bunch of snowflakes in one second. Be sure the forecast is for your city, not some distant location. A forecast is not a guarantee or promise. A forecast for something four or five days away can easily change. And anyone who references snow along the Gulf on their social media will get clicks and views, whether it is realistic or not. We go through this in hurricane season, too, with hurricanes.”
Use a weather forecast source you trust, especially when it consistently delivers a decent prediction. Just because something has a lot of shares and likes, it doesn’t mean it has a lot of value. Don’t fall for the headline without reading the fine print. Don’t share something that you are not sure of.
In a weather forecast, “might,” “possible” and “could” are vague if they are not qualified. I “might” find out it’s “possible” that I “could” inherit a million dollars and then retire. But it’s not “likely”! I’ve got a four-letter word for that.
This page is available to our subscribers. Join us right now to get the latest local news from local reporters for local readers.
The best deal is found by clicking here. Click here right now to find out more. Check it out.
Already a member of the Lagniappe family? Sign in by clicking here