False alarm

2010-03-28 18:18:49.000 – Ryan Knapp,  Staff Meteorologist

A better alternative to watching TV/web surfing!

It never ceases to amaze me how in just a few years, how connected and dependant on the internet we have all become. When I graduated from high school I didn’t have an email, a facebook or myspace page, videos took hours to load, the “song” of the modem dialing up was embedded to memory, and research was done by visiting the local library. During the start of this decade when I got to college, I got an email, T1 lines on campus extinguished the modems voice and professors started allowing one to two online peer reviewed journal sources. Flash forward to today and it is hard to imagine life without an internet. Emails have become as standard as phone numbers, videos stream in real time, and library’s in smaller towns are having trouble staying open as the internet becomes a more common resource that is available anywhere at any time. And, it’s everywhere: at home, at work, on our phones, on buses, trains and a few flights, even at the pump at some gas stations, and is kind expected at hotels right along with A/C, color cable TV, and swimming pools. But even with how connected we have become, I still hold to the policy of not believing everything I see or hear online, even on news sites.

You log on in the morning and you see several stories. Some relative I’ve never heard of passed away leaving me millions and all I have to do is send a few thousand dollars to claim it. A pill can allow me to lose wait and gain muscle mass without lifting a single weight in 30 days. I can get a free $2000 computer just by filling out this form with all my sensitive information. Facebook is going to start charging people on some given date. If I send this email to 20 of my friends I will be helping some sick person in Oregon. A bank I’m not affiliated with transferred money without my approval. Mars will be as big as the moon on Saturday. These are just a few of the false emails and news stories that float around the internet. Most are obviously fake (at least I hope their obvious to anyone reading this) but sometimes you let your guard down and get caught up in what you are reading.

This is what happened to me last night, sort of. In our forums, someone asked when our feature was going to be on “Cantore Stories” airing on The Weather Channel (TWC). The date I was aware of from TWC producers was April 3 and 4th at 10 pm but then an email to our observer account on Saturday said they read it was going to air on March 27th and 28th. I googled “Cantore Stories Mt Washington” and sure enough, several websites had a description for our segment airing starting on the 27th. Even the description on our TV’s guide said it would be airing on the 27th. So, I sat there debating what to do. Should I make an announcement on our comments page, our facebook page, our forums, and via an email to all my family and friends. Back and forth I debated it and discussed it among the other observers. We came to the conclusion to mention something in the forum just in case but to limit it to that since we believed it was probably a misprint. But personally, I called my parents in CA as well, just in case it was correct.

Nine pm EDT rolled around, we tuned our TV to TWC and we found “Cantore Stories” airing an episode about Mainers. We checked again at 30 after and found another episode about the Caribbean (I assume since we had it on mute due to our guests). At 10, yet another episode unrelated with us. By 11, it was all over and we found that the internet had lied to us. I called my parents to save them the trouble of watching unrelated programming on the west coast then followed up on our forum post and my personal facebook page status update. It all ended up being a false alarm overall because of the internet, but it was better safe than sorry to pass the information along in limited form just in case. But for future reference and for those wondering (according to the word we got from the shows producers), our “Cantore Stories” episode will be airing April 3rd and 4th at 10pm EDT (check your local listings elsewhere). I know you’re reading this online, but hopefully you can trust me on this one.

PS – If you frequent our webcams, you may have noticed some tents being set up on our observation deck. I should point out that we are aware of these tents since we were the ones that put them up. We are testing some products for Backpacker magazine which includes various winter tents. For us to set these tents up, we had to get special permission from the Mount Washington State Park manager. We needed this special permission because the summit of Mount Washington is a New Hampshire State Park, and camping is NOT PERMITTED at any time. So, just because we have tents set up, does not mean there has been a change to the State Parks policies or the USFS’s policies. To learn more about winter camping though, especially above tree line, please check our “Camping and Staying Overnight on Mount Washington” webpage or check out this USFS page. And we will keep you posted as to when you can read our results in an upcoming Backpacker magazine issue.


Ryan Knapp,  Staff Meteorologist

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