If you've been on facebook in the last 24 hours, odds are you've seen the graphic floating around depicting a snow forecast for Lawton leaning upwards of fifteen inches. I'm pretty sure I've got about thirty friends who shared the same pic, and I'm sure it'll keep floating around for the next few days prompting people to go out and start hoarding food and toilet paper again... but it's not going to happen, here's why... It all has to do with how facebook works.

Facebook is a weird and irrationally fickle thing to use as a business, when you manage a page instead of your normal everyday profile. It's all about one metric called "reach." Just as it sounds, reach is the average total number of people seeing your content each and every day, and it widely varies from post to post. The more eyes seeing your content, the more web traffic you can generate to your website. The more people to your website, the more valuable your ad space. Yep, it all comes back to advertising dollars. The goal isn't so much reach in general, but the focus is entirely on "engagements." That's what facebook calls it when you like, comment, and share stuff across the platform, and that translate back to overall "reach." Simply put, you share posts, whoever originally posted it makes money... Savvy?

The particular OKC meteorologist has a pretty solid history of selling the unlikely because people make it so easy to succeed on flaky information. That's what facebook is for right? Spreading misinformation and crazy talk... Between my friends in OKC and other places that have the luxury of OKC channels, I see Damon's stuff quite a bit in my feed, and every time it's something worth sharing, it's wild speculation so far out, by the time the forecasted event doesn't happen, people have forgotten how wrong he was.

All the same, I realize I'm the guy that predicted a wild record snow storm for this Winter way back in December. Looking at the archives at Weather.gov, a record snowfall for Lawton would have to be more than the current record of thirteen inches (1988). Knowing that a wildly speculated 10"-15" of snow is plausible through history, it doesn't make it any more likely. While I would love to be wrong about this forecast, I still stand on my December estimate of 6"-12", leaning very heavily on the 6". It's enough to make you polish your sled now so you can be the first one down the powder of Mount Cameron.

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