When a forecast doesn’t live up to its predictions, online bullies are quick to take to social media and target meteorologists.
NTV chief meteorologist Eddie Sheerr says he is no stranger to cyberbullying after a forecast goes wrong.
“It’s very unique here in that there’s only really two public figures that are giving out weather forecasts. So, the vitriol is directed at the people who are communicating it most frequently.”
A forecasted winter storm left the Avalon with less snow than anticipated on Tuesday, Jan. 9. The following day, Twitter was flooded with tweets from unhappy residents.
The initial forecast was put out Sunday night and predicted amounts between 20 and 30 cm. However, in the following two days, the estimated amounts decreased, resulting in a final total of 15-25cm. Despite these numbers, many users falsely claimed that Sheerr forecasted 40 cm of snow.
But that was never the case.
“What seems to happen is, I’ll put out a forecast two days before a storm and that’s the one people seem to latch onto, and people don’t seem to go searching for subsequent updates,” Sheerr said.
False accusations and expressions of frustration made their way to Twitter feeds and Facebook comment sections throughout the day on Wednesday.
While many people jumped at the chance to spread hate, there are others who chimed in with words of kindness for Sheerr.
‘We’re better than this’
Sherri Pritchett of Mount Pearl was among the group of people who came to Sheer’s defence.
“This is absolutely ridiculous,” said Pritchett. “I’ve lived in other places, and I’ve never seen this.”
Pritchett said she was disheartened after reading some of the messages targeted at Sheer. She said it seems like some Newfoundlanders take the weather personally; they often treat people like Eddie Sheerr as a “gatekeeper” of the forecast.
A self-proclaimed introvert and a Twitter user for the last 10 years, Pritchett has never been one to join in on big conversations online. She described herself as someone who doesn’t post in an attempt to get likes or to stir the pot.
But when she saw the messages posted online this past Wednesday, she couldn’t let it slide.
She joined the conversation not to cause any more problems, but in an attempt to make people stop and think.
Pritchett said the attention her tweet had gained left her feeling positive about the situation.
“That day I kinda was really happy to see that go far I think. I think that’s what I wanted whether or not I realized it consciously. I think I was trying to defend Eddie in some manner.”
When thinking back on the situation that had unfolded, she sighed in disappointment as she said, “we’re better than this.”
Don’t shoot the messenger
When asked about how these encounters make him feel, Sheerr said with a shrug, “It’s part of it. You have to be able to kind of have a bit of a thick skin and take it and deal with it.”
Sheerr has experienced his fair share of mean comments online. Having been in the meteorology field for over 15 years, he said he used to be much more affected by the hate than he is today.
His words of advice to anyone using social media are, “Think about what you say before you say it”.
Abby Butler is a student journalist studying at the College of the North Atlantic. A lover of photography from a young age, she aims to tell her stories as much through photos as she does writing.
I wish NL was better than that but that wasn’t my experience. I’ve since left and have run into others that moved to NL to work and were treated badly and bullied until they left. It’s really sad.
Great story. Very well covered here, Abigail. I agree that Eddie takes abuse that he really shouldn’t as forecasts are apt to change even as a weather event is happening. You do a good job of reporting on his situation. Well done! Keep it up, Eddie!
sorry u r gettin this local trash from folks eddie. unless u r a bad person, and just about all of us here, know u sir r a very nice man, u r doin somethin right. a small bunch of us r big locally online…really known, & visible, & we get it all, from folks too busy/swamped to read what’s posted, to folks, who have zero clue, how to do whatever anyone else is doing, to ones that would rather sit home on their behinds, & pick on anyone with an account, than do anything else! it’s sad really, but we all live online, & this junk will never go away. keep up the great work eddie. u sir r a very well respected person/father/weatherman/meteorologist/local internet famed man : ) all the best to u sir!
The root of the complaints about Eddy’s weather ‘prediction’s’ go back to the society in which we now live in and that for which we have made for today’s generation. It all ties in with “self-entitlement”. Today’s generation expect that any information that they are being given has to be 100% accurate, otherwise they see anything other than that as being deceitful and that they are being misled. And we all know that you cannot hurt anyone’s feeling’s anymore. So …Eddy..you need to stop hurting their itty-bitty feelings and give the forecast out for the previous day on the following day ;). I guarantee you…you will still get criticism.
I cannot believe the people of Newfoundland have become so low that they would bully a man for predicting the forecast based on the model he was following the weather pattern developing for Newfoundland.
I am saying the people of Newfoundland because why would folks from other provinces, territories or another country bully Eddie because the weather pattern changed,
I’ll tell you why! Because many of them don’t have anything better to do with their time so they do their best to pick on an innocent man who is trying to do his job to the best of his ability based on the information presented to him at the time the forecast is presented.
Are so many Newfoundlanders so naïve in understanding the jet stream and how weather patterns can change over two days.
He predicted the forecast for Tuesday on Sunday so yes this pattern can change at any time but some people are too damn stupid to check his updates.
I think some Newfoundlanders should find something more positive to do instead of bullying a man doing his job. Whomever you are, you should all be ashamed of yourselves.
I am from Newfoundland but I moved away and now I don’t care if I ever return because I am now ashamed to say I am from there.
You people want to do something positive, then get off your asses and move out west to go
to work so your hands can be used for something worthwhile instead of cyber bullying honest working people like Eddie Shears.
Your doing a wonderful job Eddie Scherr,never mind people’s ignorance.
Keep up the great work.
Eddie,NL has always complained,complimented,or used the weather as a starting point to a daily greeting since time began,don’t be offended its our way of finding something to talk about,unfortunately you are in the middle of the mix,as we say here on the Rock,”you can win for losing”,lol,keep on keeping on
Maybe Eddie should just not tell us until the friggin thing is over. Every Newfoundlander jokes about the weather. If you don’t like NF weather wait 5 minutes…etc. How do you expect someone to forecast with finite accuracy a natural phenomenon that is NF weather. The man would be outside with a microphone saying…”Wait…it’s going to rain, no, snow, hold on, sunny on the west end, foggy up da shore.” Give the man a break. Want to know the accurate weather…look outside!