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Looking beyond social media for weather forecasts

Photo Source: Stacey MacNaught / CC BY 2.0 / MGN
Photo Source: Stacey MacNaught / CC BY 2.0 / MGN(KALB)
Published: Jan. 14, 2020 at 5:49 PM CST
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When severe weather is on the way, it's easy to get information right at your fingertips, especially through social media.

Eau Claire County Emergency Management is encouraging to go beyond social media for weather information.

Tyler Esh, emergency management coordinator says not everything that you see on the internet can be trusted.

He says to think twice before you share if you don't believe the information is coming from a reliable source. It’s best to find a reliable source of information you know and trust and consider sharing their information online.

He also says to beware of computer forecast models. Many model graphics find their way on to social media and can create confusion without the proper context.

“A forecast model is not a forecast,” said Skywarn 13 Meteorologist Darren Maier. “It's a tool that meteorologists use to develop a forecast and ultimately we are looking at multiple forecast models to make that forecast.”

He says people can find graphics on social media and share them with the public, although they may not be completely accurate.

Maier says to keep in mind that the weather is always subject to change since the atmosphere is always changing.

“The further out you are in time, the more likely you are to see the forecast change as you get closer to an event,” said Maier.

Although there can be false information on social media, it is also a great resource for quick and easy information.

“We try to push out information and preparedness tips through the Eau Claire County Emergency Management Facebook and Twitter pages,” said Esh.

Emergency Management says ultimately, we need to work together to make sure social media is a reliable source of information for everyone.

To stay up to date on your local weather, you can download the free Skywarn 13 Weather app.

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