Someone asked me why Ian seems so much more unpredictable than past storms.
Every hurricane is tough to predict – especially 5 days out. There are multiple factors in play and multiple computer models and data to ingest and interpret.
What’s different now? Social media.
Meteorologists (and amateur wanna-be meteor-LOL-ogists) have instant access to model data and share it immediately on social media. This lets people see every little change and flip-flop of one computer model (which is completely normal and expected with weather modeling). But instead of hearing one, consistent message, people get many messages that seem contradictory and confusing.
Too much information leads everyone to wonder why a storm is so much more unpredictable now than before. The National Hurricane Center’s forecasts actually continue to get better and more accurate every year.
Unfortunately, thanks to over-sharing, the accurate forecasts are buried under the bravado and bragging of who was first and who was right, and who posted the most to social media.
I understand everyone wants more information and instant access to everything. It’s become our new normal. But when you see every single little shift in a weather model with no context or explanation (or meteorology training) it adds to the confusion. No wonder people ask why it seems like Ian is so much more unpredictable than other hurricanes.
It’s not. It just SEEMS like it is.