March 13, 2017
The wrath of winter is coming, which means meteorologists are busy trying to keep up with the latest weather models to determine the storm's potential impact. In today's digital world, it also means stressed-out weatherpersons' tempers can flare on social media.
Philadelphia-area Twitter users are accustomed to witnessing public figures show their emotions, even when those feelings aren't appropriate for public consumption. Like when Pennsylvania Sen. Daylin Leach opened eyes when he called President Donald Trump a "fascist, loofa-faced s***-gibbon." Or when Mara Wilson, the actress who portrayed "Matilda," ruffled Philadelphians' feathers when she called them "a**holes." How about when porn star Mia Khalifa swallowed her pride when 76ers center Joel Embiid shut her down for calling the team losers?
Obviously, the fields of sports, politics and entertainment are ripe for opportunities for people to lose their cool. But surely, meteorology is filled with professionals who stay above the fray, right?
While we can't be positive how much snow will fall, this week's impending nor'easter proved that meteorologists can let loose on Twitter, too.
On Monday, hours before the first snowflake will fall from the sky, Gary Szatkowski, a recently retired chief meteorologist for the National Weather Service, and 6ABC meteorologist Chris Sowers punched out some feisty tweets about the outlets' storm coverage.
NWS forecasters have been updating their projections about every 12 hours. Those forecasts have generally hovered around 8 to 12 inches in the Philly area. The latest release, provided at 5 a.m. on Monday, pinpointed the figure at 12 inches.
Sowers was critical of NWS' frequent updates about a potentially damaging storm:
@jerseyjohn43 Yes, but my confidence in the NWS is low. They have not been very good this winter— Chris Sowers (@chris_sowers) March 12, 2017
@Jj45976701 the NWS will change that map about ten times before the storm actually happens— Chris Sowers (@chris_sowers) March 12, 2017
That didn't sit well with Szatkowski:
Chris Sowers 6abc still has a tweet up criticizing the NWS for updating their forecasts 🙄 We'll see how long that tweet lasts.— Gary Szatkowski (@GarySzatkowski) March 13, 2017
And off they went as observers went to get snacks:
@GarySzatkowski Throwing shade! BRB, grabbing popcorn!— James the Creator (@JimmyInPhilly) March 13, 2017
Here's the back and forth:
@chris_sowers Wrong, it's based on forecaster judgment. And why did you delete the tweet calling NWS forecast maps wrong and misleading?— Gary Szatkowski (@GarySzatkowski) March 13, 2017
@chris_sowers Chris, this is all painfully obvious stuff you should have learned a long time ago.— Gary Szatkowski (@GarySzatkowski) March 13, 2017
@chris_sowers Perhaps if you attended an NWS media workshop, this would not be new information.— Gary Szatkowski (@GarySzatkowski) March 13, 2017
And with that Chris Sowers at 6abc, like Adam Joseph, has blocked me on Twitter. Those two don't take advice well.— Gary Szatkowski (@GarySzatkowski) March 13, 2017
At least Szatkowski and Sowers can agree on one thing. The weather is going to be bad for the next couple days.
This is my forecast for Tuesday morning! lol pic.twitter.com/kVW09N3bT4— Chris Sowers (@chris_sowers) March 12, 2017
Just remember to be careful out there, everyone. And try to be nice to each other on social media.