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Meteorologist: Whatsapp weathermen not legitimate

AMANDA LYNCH-FOSTER, [email protected]

Meteorologist: Whatsapp weathermen not legitimate

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Don’t believe the Whatsapp weathermen!

Meteorologist Sabu Best is appealing to Barbadians to check the official sources first before believing and circulating “doomsday” messages about weather systems that they may receive on their phones.

Speaking at the 2:00 am update from the National Emergency Operations Centre, Best referred to a recent Whatsapp video in which an amateur weather enthusiast predicted the merging of three weather systems in the Atlantic to create a super cyclone.

He said the prediction was “not legit” and went into an explanation of why scientifically it was not credible.

“The amount of energy that’s needed to create a cyclone of that size – I can’t begin to imagine to tell you how much energy is needed,” declared Best.

“It’s just unheard of. And there’s not enough energy in the Northern Hemisphere to create something of that size – what they were describing. A lot of the things weren’t meteorology.They were someone just speaking very freely,” said the meteorologist with the Barbados Meteorological Service.

He said that of the three systems that have been in the Atlantic Ocean, only one Tropical Storm Harvey is of current concern to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.

“The one in the middle is far up North, almost 20 degrees North. And that’s going to continue on a west northwest track, well away from Barbados and the islands of the eastern Caribbean. Another negative is it’s actually going to come up into the proximity of an upper level trough –that’s actually going to provide a hostile environment so there’s going to be a lot of shears on that system. In any event it’s going to be really far from any land mass,” stated Best.

He added that the third system is currently just off the African coast and that computer models suggest a slow development that may be hampered by the amount of African dust in its environment. That is also forecast to pass well north of the region.

The meteorologist urged the public to check the official sources first when they receive such messages, noting:

“When anyone sees information like that – if it’s scary or paints a doomsday [scenario] … always check the reputable sources. Go to our website. If something major is going to happen it’s going to be listed there and if you see nothing listed on there, more than likely it’s a hoax.”

He said that while “social media is wonderful” as it “gets the message around” the danger was that it “also passes the wrong message around.”

“What would be good is for people not to continue to share it around because it spreads and it goes around like wildfire and people start saying ‘oh you have it on your phone and you have it on your phone so it has to be real’ because everyone has it. But it’s not official,” Best stressed.