Sunday SELA storms & Cali quake rattle social revelation
The reporting of weather and geological events are forever changed. The change comes not from the scientists who study and disseminate this information, but from those who consume and interpret it. Certainly, in a few cases, this has created problems. However, there are countless other examples in which mass dispersion of information benefits science.
Recall the recent, and for all intents and purposes, minor Southern California earthquake. While seismologists have seen much greater rumblings on their scales before, it's the roar of social media during this event that registered for them.
From photographs to exclamations, to proof of damage and false prognostications, Twitter, Facebook and other mainstream social media platforms rumbled up with a stream of information during and after the tremors.
The same occurred at home in Southern Louisiana on Sunday Night. A noisy evening in the atmosphere was equally thunderous on Twitter and Facebook. WBRZ meteorologists Robert Gauthreaux and Josh Eachus were the first local weather forecasters to report watches and warnings as they were issued by the National Weather Service. Subsequently, timely updates on storm motions, threats and impacts were on constant supply keeping Twitter and Facebook subscribers instantaneously in tune with rapidly evolving weather conditions.
Like any successful system though, there is an ebb and flow. Herein lies one of the beauties of social media as it pertains to weather forecasting and reporting.
As quickly as the WBRZ weather team was warning, analyzing and broadcasting the impending weather, local residents, viewers and weather enthusiasts were reporting damage, sending pictures and verifying "ground-truth" of what the storms were actually doing. This feedback is indescribably invaluable for meteorologists working to confirm and extend warnings associated with particular thunderstorms. Verifying and extending warnings can ultimately increase lead time and possibly save lives.
From the perspective of this meteorologist, your efforts are very much appreciated and encouraged to continue. Please ask others to follow, retweet and share our information while providing additional feedback and reports when available. Together, we can use social media to share essential weather information.
You can get forecasts from Meteorologist Josh Eachus weekdays on 2une-In from 5-7am and News 2 at Noon from 12-1pm. Additionally, you can get the fastest and latest forecasts and weather news by checking in with wbrz.com/weather, liking Josh on Facebook and following him on Twitter.