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Were the weather hype reels too misleading?

A little over a week ago, a huge storm was supposed to hit Mexico. Of course, the storm made landfall and sort of just … puttered out. Did we get our expectations up too high? Did the news blow things out of proportion?

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By Drew Bergen (Contributor) – Email

A little over a week ago, a huge storm was supposed to hit Mexico. Of course, the storm made landfall and sort of just … puttered out. Did we get our expectations up too high? Did the news blow things out of proportion?

This is definitely not the first time something of this sort has happened. Practically every winter, my Facebook has been subjected to the constant assault of posts regarding a huge snowfall that’s totally going to happen soon. And then, when the time comes, we have often been disappointed (or relieved) to find the public predictions to be wrong.

So what’s going on? Are our weather people being paid a little too much, or are we all just jumping to conclusions? To me, it’s the latter. Weather is a tricky matter, and so often our meteorologists can be wrong, even though they are quite accurate in the day-to-day menagerie of weather occurrences. When it comes to “Big Ones” though, unmet expectations are fairly commonplace. Of course, I could go on about the importance of weighing your bets accordingly, or acknowledging the chaotic nature of that crazy thing we call weather, but we the public are not totally responsible.

It’s interesting and important news that people want to hear. Large storms and crazy weather are big news. There’s no doubt that when part of a record-breaking hurricane is expected to make landfall that the regular news networks will want to cover it. Of course, combining this heavy media coverage with some networks’ appreciation of blowing subjects out of proportion creates a tornado of hype and misplaced expectations.

I’m not saying we’ve been crying wolf regarding the weather, or that we can’t trust big claims regarding the weather whatsoever; again, weather is chaotic, and anything can happen. If the “Big One” does end up hitting, we do want to be prepared for when it comes.

But we and our media can generate high expectations for matters as simple (and surprisingly complex) as the weather, and so it’s important to weigh our expectations accordingly. One cannot simply become jaded or cynical with something as potentially dangerous as this. When it comes to storms, remember to be prepared, but also be careful not to buy into the hype. It’s a scary world out there, and you never know when the winds will change!

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