(WKRG) — It’s another example of how you shouldn’t trust everything you read on the internet. It’s natural for some people to panic ahead of a hurricane. And thanks to social media, people’s fears are easily fed. One wrong projection could be shared over two million times, spreading unnecessary panic.
Right now, there are a couple myths swirling around social media—the first is that Hurricane Irma could become the first Category 6 hurricane. False.
“The reason we stop at Category 5 is because the Saffir-Simpson wind scale is based on the amount of damage that a storm can do, and once you get to catastrophic damage, there’s just nothing worse,” says News 5 Meteorologist John Nodar.
A category 5 hurricane has wind speeds over 157 mph. Even though there have been a few hurricanes that have gone above that, there’s really no point in coming up with a category six rating.
The second myth is that meteorologists can predict exactly where a hurricane will be several days out. There are certain videos online that say with certainty, that Irma will take a certain path.
“Well here’s the thing, the models will run for ten or more days out. The problem is the farther you go away in time the more errors compound, so if you have a small error in the beginning then it gets bigger as it goes out further in time,” says Nodar.
And we’ve seen the models for Irma change in just the last few days. But just because we don’t know where a storm is going, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it seriously.
“I don’t necessarily mean boarding up windows, that might be two days out, but the things that we should have done at the beginning of hurricane season—have enough supplies, water, batteries, to get through at least three days on your own.”
Some have already started loading up on supplies. But the reality is, no matter where you live on the Gulf Coast, you should always have a plan ready, it’ll make it that much easier when a storm comes along.