Beware of the fake “Team of Meteorologists”
I’ve kept my mouth shut about this for a while now but after Tuesday’s blatant (not the first) attack on me, it’s time to reveal some painful truth. This is not a NJ weather-related post so don’t waste your time if that’s what you are looking for. However, if you like drama then make some popcorn and pull up a chair.
While storm chasing Tuesday on Long Beach Island, NJ I got caught in some pretty damaging severe winds. I saw, with my own eyes, what appeared to be rotation. This, after observing several tornado warnings by the NWS for PA and SWNJ in-alignment with LBI, as well as numerous pics and reports, led me to believe that the sky was indeed capable of producing a tornado. In my own error, I posted a picture that was submitted by a credible source of what appeared to be a tornado—with the caption “Tornado Footage.” The area where the pic was taken was tornado-warned and rotation was visible on advanced radar software, specifically GRLevel3 and GR2Analyst. Hindsight is always 20-20 but moving forward I’ll use terminology like “possible tornado footage” instead of “tornado footage” before official NWS confirmation. Lesson learned.
Weatherboy saw this opportunity to pounce on my mistake and post the following:
What’s funny are the comment reactions to his own attack post. Also, the NWS confirmed a waterspout in the LBI region. I believe this is called a backfire.
So the National Weather Service is taking a stand against me? This almost made me spit my drink on the laptop screen. If Weatherboy is referring to the synoptic discussion that NWS Mt. Holly’s Gary Szatkowski had with me well that’s just funny. As pictured, one of his own fans recognized that this was a personal attack on me and not a general post whatsoever. The relationship between the NWS and Weather NJ couldn’t be better and there are no “alleged repremands” to me from the NWS. Try to find a single tweet from the NWS suggesting such. Just personal conversation with Gary’s personal twitter account:
I feel bad for the citizen who captured the cloud during severe conditions. As also pictured above, he actually felt attacked himself by weatherboy. As another citizen, who works for Hunterdon County OEM, states, his delivery missed the mark. The bottom line…this post was a poor effort to put someone down and very unprofessional. I would never engage in such an attack but you can be sure as hell I’ll defend myself.
Who Weatherboy pretends to be
Weatherboy states that they are a team of professional meteorologists with many years of experience. To this day, he has yet to reveal the names or credentials of his “professional team of meteorologists.” He has taken creative measures to fake his story including bogus classroom visits and dishonest campaigns…none of which again, state names or credentials. He constantly posts shock-factor articles and videos for traffic-bait but slams others for posting actual weather observations.
The American Meteorological Society (AMS) currently has zero-evidence of him despite his proposed trip to the AMS convention last year. He actually snapped a pic of the departure monitors in the airport and posted it with the caption, “On the way to national AMS convention.” Later that day his own neighbor informed me that he left for vacation to the Dominican Republic..lol
Who Weatherboy really is
He goes by a radio stage name of Michael Phillips. At least for a while I thought that was his name until I received the following messages from my own fans. I was still Severe NJ Weather at the time and Weatherboy had just posted an article pointing out how many meteorologists were wrong about snowfall totals (shocking). His own neighbors and schoolmates came to me with this information:
So I did some research and found the facebook page for Michael Konowicz. Under the about section for Michael Konowicz, a website was listed for “weatheronline.com.” I then noticed that Weatherboy listed weatherboy.com on his facebook about section. So after visiting weatherboy.com and viewing the HTML page source, I found that the following HTML code:
His LinkedIn page also listed the same web site. Deduce what you will but the following is, in-fact, true: Weatherboy, at the age of 5 helped build a weather station in his back yard. For this effort he was hosted by the Letterman show. Ever since, he was dubbed the weatherboy. He also claims years of broadcasting experience but good luck getting specifics on that. Regardless, he has yet to reveal his identity publicly or any meteorological credentials.
Who I pretend to be
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Who I am
My name is Jonathan Carr. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and information systems from Stockton University. My primary career is in software development and systems engineering. I have no formal education in meteorology and I wear that proudly on my sleeve. My entire atmospheric knowledge-base is self-taught and under the wing of some good friends who are professional meteorologists (EPAWA FTW)! I learn more and more every day, from both success and failure, and plan to acquire formal education in meteorology some day.
I started Severe NJ Weather in February of 2010 simply to inform the public, through actionable discussion, of major storm systems that were out of local forecast reach. Weather safety information/aggregation was my primary intended function. I was able to alert the public well in-advance about the 2010-2011 blizzards, Hurricane Irene, the Halloween Snow Storm of 2011, the 2012 Derecho, the 2012 Freehold Microburst, Superstorm Sandy, the Polar Vortex influence of 2013/2014, and many other smaller-impact storm systems to date.
In 2014 I re-branded as Weather NJ with a centralized web presence. Today I represent the largest independent weather reporting agency in the State of New Jersey. My collective social media following of 215k+ over multiple social media platforms is 100% organic of which I am VERY proud of! My website has been visited 5.4 million times since launch last July from over 170 countries around the world—from 6 of 7 continents (due to international airport travel weather interest – PHL/EWR/JFK/LGA). PS: if you’re in Antarctica, please visit somehow!
I was voted 2014 Citizen Journalist of the Year by the Citizen’s Campaign as well as featured in many traditional media articles. I’m followed by the governor, senators, state and national congressmen, multiple OEM/EMS/law enforcement organizations, over 60 professional network meteorologists and reporters in the New York/Philadelphia metropolitan areas, and a handful of celebrities. Although this feels amazing now, I expect to continue solid growth as New Jersey’s #1 trusted weather site. I’m not going anywhere!
Weatherboy’s strange obsession with me
Last winter, Jeff Edelstein of the Trentonian wrote an article about my rising popularity. Immediately afterwards, Weatherboy practically harassed Jeff Edelstein because I was chosen for the article over him. Ever since then, there has been a creepy obsession detected. You all know my KABOOOM phrase that I used many times in 2013/2014 and also above. Well this past winter, Weatherboy posted the following image before a predicted snow storm:
Creepy, right? The evidence leads me to believe that he’s been waiting for me to slip up. Therefore Tuesday’s tornado image post must of been his lucky day. Or not.
Weatherboy’s fake audience
After Sandy my following leveled off at around 80k on facebook. Weatherboy’s following topped out at around 30k. Soon after, Weatherboy’s followership increased dramatically to where it is today. The growth was achieved during normal boring dry weather conditions. I found this to be bizarre. One day a fan messaged me and told me to check out his about section, specifically the “likes” part. What did it reveal?
His most popular city was listed by facebook as Cairo, Al Qahirah, Egypt and his most popular demographic was listed by facebook as 18-24 years old. This was when I began suspecting that he might have purchased most of his audience through various “buy likes now” sites. Bizarre cities and unlikely demographics are normally giveaways for big facebook sites who purchase their likes (fake profiles) to simulate large presences. Obviously Egypt is not a reasonably valid location as most of his posts are about the United States. Also, the 18-24 year old demographic is statistically the least interested demographic in weather. My most popular age group is 35-55 and 68% female…how real weather site demographics should look. Also I was wondering why there were so few comments on his posts in comparison to mine. I also noticed that he likes to sponsor a lot of his posts in-attempt to fake high engagement. Based on his actual engagement of his non-sponsored posts, I would estimate his true following size to be 30-40k. Keep in mind that busiest cities and age groups refresh every few weeks based on who is actually engaging with the page. So his data now will show a US city. This screenshot was taken during the period that his facebook page blew up in likes and therefore reflected the most active city at the time.
What Weatherboy will now do
It’s a shame I’ve had to but I’ve noticed a few trends in how Weatherboy fakes his presence.
First, he mght delete the post he made about me on Tuesday, especially after my most loyal fans begin making numerous comments on the post. Here is the link to it. Once this link stops working, you know what happened lol (https://www.facebook.com/theWeatherboy/photos/a.261480430121.304779.127583470121/10155838856115122/?type=1&theater) That’s why I took screen shots (above).
If he doesn’t delete the post then he will likely delete your comments (on the post and on his page in general) and ban you. Take screenshots of your comments if you think I’m kidding. Post them on my page before or after he deletes them, only if you wish.
Also, if he does not delete, he will likely bury the post with new articles about random traffic-bait headlines.
He will insist that his page represents real meteorologists with formal educational credentials in meteorology. He will not, however, give the names of real people. He will likely also reference years of broadcasting experience in the greater Philadelphia area. He might even try to post vague images that he “thinks” will prove his story. Again, he will not give specifics. He will try his hardest for you to walk away believing the “professional team of meteorologists” story.
He will change the subject in his comment responses to vague “lip-service style” condescending remarks. Again, unfortunately I’ve observed his style enough to predict his actions. This is the 3rd or 4th time this has happened.
I thought very long and hard about whether to write this article or not. This is not the first time he has done something like this. Also, the idea that some people actually believe his story makes me nauseous. It’s very dishonest and manipulative. Thank you for listening to my side of story. Stay safe and properly informed New Jersey! JC