The Weather Channel @TWC uses large rodent to warn of Tornadoes – no joke

Sometimes you just have to laugh, this is one of those times. This is both hilarious and sad at the same time. Perhaps they are trying for some sort of “Punxatwaney Phil” weather alert?

Really, it’s not a joke, and not a Photoshop job. See the original Tweet here.

Dr. Ryan Maue comments:


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Mike MacKenzie

It’s a storm of unusual size!


That sucker looks more like a nutria than anything. They do like holes in the mud like groundhogs and gophers. And the ones in Cajun land know what storms are like.

Steve Lohr

Yep, that’s what it is.

Dunno, looks like a coypu to me.
Nutritious AND delicious, an informant in the culinary world tells me.


I thought it was a beady-eyed climate weasel.


I couldn’t tell what it was. For a moment, I thought it might be a Mutant Muskrat, but it’s the wrong shape.
Good grief, are they really this stupid? (Don’t bother answering that. It was a rhetorical question.)

Walter Sobchak

It’s a marmot:

Walter Sobchak

Nice marmot, man.


Where’s my AR-15? Nothing better for varmint control.

It makes sense that the head of the Weather Channel would use one of his own kids to predict tornadoes.

Has anyone beat me to “ROUSs” gag

D. J. Hawkins

First post. Sorry.


I wouldn’t laugh.
This may be the beginning of a huge improvement in meteorological forecasting.

Hot under the collar

Wrong metaphor, if the photo is a giant rat I suspect out of shot to the left of the picture is a line of rats leaving The Weather Channel ship which is sinking in the background. ;>)

Hot under the collar

Either that or they just couldn’t find an image of a brass monkey!


The featured animal is unrelated to the featured story. Serving suggestion only. The TWC does not provide medical, legal, or meteorological councelling. Always use professional services. The product may shrink. Wash before use. Raw meat. Cook thoroughly before consuming.


I see the TWC appears to be like the HIV virus. Doubly the. Apologies.

Groundhogs! Seek shelter immediately! You aren’t safe if you aren’t underground!
This is the same way they react when I approach. Gee! I must be a tornado.

John Garrett

Go to ground, like Reynard.

Paul r

I have more faith in a large rodent than i do with the likes of mann, flannery et al and he doesn’t cost as much.

Robert from oz

My thoughts exactly Paul and is it any worse than the crystal ball or WAG method in use currently.

Mike McMillan

That’s a gnawing question.


will work for..peanuts? or a nice salad and likely give an accurate forecast
i watch the Gazanias(hardy flower like a daisy) if they dont open in the am or they close at anytime during the day its going to rain soon


aka, the nutria, aka, beaverrat, aka coypu.
The came from South America.
And they flapped their tiny ratlike tail down there and a tornado formed in Tennessee. Duh!

John F. Hultquist

It looks like a nutria but it’s really a “Giant Alberta Rat” , or rattus albertus magnus.
Alberta is officially rat-free, since rats have been expelled from this province for more than 50 years.
These giant rats have been driven into neighboring states and provinces, where they survive by consuming carrion and spreading disease and misery,
The exception is the legal sub-species rattus albertus legalus, which is still pervasive and highly destructive throughout Alberta and North America.


Isn’t the common name for “rattus legalus” “journalist”?

Moderately Cross of East Anglia

If it is not a silly question how exactly were these super size rodents “expelled” from the province?
Did they have legal injunctions served or did they become climate refugees?
We have a big badger problem in the U.K. They are breeding out of control thanks to green opposition to culling, ensuring farmers have trouble with the spread of bovine TB caused by badger spread . They are also destroying the garden friendly hedgehog.
Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants are suffering widespread shutdowns at the moment because of a change of supplies distributor failure. My suggestion they turn to serving badgers has fallen on deaf ears. So perhaps Alberta can tell offer us all a lesson on how to move pesky critters on.

D. J. Hawkins

That would be “rattus flavus pannus”


Not all is wasted:
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Extreme Hiatus

That’s actually a nutria, an invasive species that recently turned up in California (again).
So is the message supposed to be some Wizard of Oz type thing where a tornado will suck one up and drop it in California?
No. It is just a goofy mistake. Hope AI or a bot did it because if an actual person did this things at that propaganda network are even worse than we thought!

Samuel C Cogar

Really, it’s not a joke, and not a Photoshop job. See the original Tweet here.

Well, fer shur, its a picture of an actual nutria, and not a “Photoshop job” …. unless it was Joyce Gross who did the Photoshopping.
To wit:
An adult nutria with white muzzle and whiskers, and long, round tail.
Photo courtesy of Joyce Gross, UC-Berkeley.

D. J. Hawkins

The original tweet has been removed.

John Lindemulder

If you intend to make reference to important mammals, kindly learn to spell Punxsutawney.

Crispin in Waterloo

It is a lot easier to spell Wiarton Willie.
At first glance I thought it was a baby cane rat (Thryonomys)
The photo is really worth checking out. Those caught in sugar cane fields are absolutely delicious. They are difficult to keep on a restaurant menu because those who catch them won’t give them up.

John F. Hultquist

Punxsy – – for those of us from western PA.


Jim Cantore really looks different without a shave.


It’s settled, consensus science.

R.S. Brown

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had Dr. Watson refer to the case of the
“Giant Rat of Sumatra”, which Doyle never got around to writing,
and may have tossed into the story line just to flummox his readers
a bit…
Is this critter on of those ?


Maybe, but not likely. The giant rat of Sumatra seems to be a mountain rat. This is a swamp rat, (Suited for the DC Swamp?) But according to The New York Times, the giant rat was found in Indonesia but it was found in the mountains of New Guinea Province, not in Sumatra.


Has the rodent been proved to be more unreliable than the Met Office?

Crispin in Waterloo

Wiarton Willie is.

Brian R

Well you can see from its fur there is some counter clockwise rotation. It also shows signs of a classic “rope tornado” that appears to be curling from the left to right.
It was very brave of the camera person to get so close such a dangerous phenomenon and capture such detailed images.

That is one critter my cat would like to tangle with, he is a big cat that stands up to big dogs and chases them of.


Ditto. I have a 5 pound feral cat that is one bodacious mouser. I think she could handle this rodent, paws down!


Three dead from Tornadoes in AR and KY last night. Relative to the number of reported tornadoes, more people die in the SE due to tornadoes than in the plains states to the west. Less likely to see them coming in the daylight hours and it seems like the really powerful storms come in the evening after sunset more frequently in that region. That is according to the NOAA Storm Prediction Center.


The above was poorly worded. NOAA says more people die relative to the number of storms in the SE with the state of Mississippi being the worst. The reasons for that are my conjecture.


Many times storm fronts will set up east of the Kansas/Oklahoma/Texas line and will leave the areas west high and dry while the storms break out farther east such as in Arkansas. This might account for more deaths to the east under certain weather conditions.
That had been the pattern this year for a while with storm fronts building up over Arkansas and moving east, but as the season goes along, the fronts have started to build up further to the west from say central Oklahoma moving east now (western Oklahoma is still dry).
Here in Eastern Oklahoma we were getting real dry and hadn’t had a decent rain storm in months, but this last week of rain has alleviated our drought for the most part. The creek behind my house was up 20 feet yesterday because of the rain but it’s already back down to about normal today. Love that rain! Some of my yard grass is turning green. Temperatures have been good, too, after we got by that initial arctic front earlier in the year.
It looks like the Polar Vortex (center marked) is changing its position moving away from the United States back towards the North Pole. Since I have just recently discovered this circulation pattern, I will be very interested to watch how it develops. It seems to be moving fairly quickly, considering it just sat over the eastern U.S. for a long time.,77.37,247/loc=-114.862,77.095


Well, I missed the center by quite some distance. Don’t know how that happened.

Leo Smith

Well at least they weren’t eaten by Giant Rats.
Mind you rats have a long line of usage as symbols imagecomment image


The terrain here is not flat. When I lived outside Chicago you could see a storm an hour before it hit you. Most of Tennessee and Kentucky, with the hills and trees, you hear the thunder before you see the storm.

Ed Zuiderwijk

Needs lots of garlic when stewing.

Extreme Hiatus

At last. The nutria Climate Change link hiding in Wikipedia:
“In 1940, some of the nutria escaped during a hurricane and quickly populated coastal marshes, inland swamps, and other wetland areas.[39] From Louisiana, coypus have spread across the Southern United States, wreaking havoc on marshland.”
Because Global Warming causes more and more powerful hurricanes – yes it does; the last 50 years have just been weather – these rodents will spread like a plague. And by chewing down coastal marshlands they will amplify the destruction caused by the imminent surging sea levels.
On the bright side, as all the crops begin withering and the looming famines take hold, they’re apparently edible and also make top quality dog food.


Don’t waste a good nutria by feeding it to a dog!

Leo Smith

As a word of warning the distribution maps shown in wiki are entirely wrong. The coypu has not been eradicated in Britain in 1929 but it was absolutely pushed back in the 70s and 80s, and declared officially eradicated in 1987 but is still occasionally seen.
As always it pays to cross-check wiki information…


Wankerpedia is notorious for political and climate bias.


Wiki has a polbias, a bias to all kind of fandom, and a bias to recent events.
So statements like Justin Trudeau was concerned on how coypus are taking over Toronto due to the CC is just so typical.
They’re facts (as N.N. said so), they’re sourced, and the have the relevance of zero. Wikipedia is based on reproducing biases.

Peta of Newark

Just beautiful – Monty Python lives.
Time for a beer because there* is the glimmer at the tunnel’s end for this climate ‘thing’
That critter needs a name and become the skeptic’s mascot. Just to remind skeptics themselves of what its all about. Why?
Did anyone watch the thing with Jordan Petersen being interviewed by a feminist on Channel 4 – it was linked to here recently.
His secret for success= Be disagreeable. Do not just bend over and/or toe the line. No consensus. No settled science. No appeasement.
Arguably is that Mr Trump and or Mrs Thatcher. Not into appeasement, unlike Obama and that’s why so many folks find (found) them to be ‘disagreeable’
Would it not be fair to suggest that most folks would find that (previously) hapless critter to be ‘disagreeable’?
Whisper in ear: Peta, “You don’t drink”
Aww rats!!!!!
Make it a sparkling water with ice ana slice – see if I care about ocean acidation
That’s it, call him ‘Henry’


I vote for calling ‘it’ boudreaux.


The IPCC mainframe to compute weather models is a in fact a grid of rodents ?
Hmmm I guess not, I t would give better results and they could not be tampered.

F. Leghorn

More specifically “quantum rodents”, which would also be a cool name for a rock band.


I was thinking about tubes of ants. The basic principle seems to be similar to that of a fluidic logic gate.

F. Leghorn

“Fluidic Ants” would also be a cool name for a rock band.


And “Chocolate Meringue Narthex” has already been claimed!
Per ‘Peter Simple’.

Jeff Mitchell

I thought two mice did all the calculations, and came up with the answer: 42. 42 happens to be Jackie Robinson’s number in major league baseball, over 60 years ago. Which is to say its always easier to predict the past. As Yogi Berra said: “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

When you see large rodents flying in the air, you know there’s a tornado nearby.
Or, I guess, people need to see the rodent and do what rodents do best – dig-up a hole and hide in it…at least until the tornado passes.
Some people might get alarmed and throw stuff at the TV screen in confusion.


you laugh, you laugh, but you’ll run in fear. Beware the kiler Coypu.

Unless you own a Holy handGrenade of Manntioch. And the number of the county shall be three.


There is evidence that critters do react to imminent earthquakes. link
There is also the possibility that some critters might know a tornado is coming by hearing its infrasound.

According to the Infrasonics Program at NOAA, infrasonic arrays can be used to locate avalanches in the Rocky Mountains, and to detect tornadoes on the high plains several minutes before they touch down.

When the rats leave, it’s a good idea to follow. link

Tom in Florida

Looks like we need Hattori Hanzo steel.


Maybe they have something else in mind 😀


That was the coolest show!
For some reason they used red tinted goggles.
We kids begged and whined to get “official” rat patrol goggles when yhe merchandising got underway.
I recall being blown away at how the red tint in the goggles would bleach out the red colors of stuff we would see as we rode our spyder bikes wearing those goggles.


How strange….the collectibles for sale show clear goggles.


You dirty nutria:


Where’s the Pied Piper when you need one?

Tom Judd



Nutria, just another rat to me. They should have called prairie dogs prairie rats and possibly we wouldn’t get all the flack we do about shooting the little buggers. But what in god’s name has such a critter got to do with weather and/or how would we masses of unwashed regular folks know?

Gunga Din

A large rodent now but as CAGW gets closer they’ll start using ……..


Some good work for the early SFX folk.
Auto – not a cineaste! With or without the e acute!


They’re headed for our “Sanctuary” cities….free from global warming!


Cute pictures like that, it is how the roderants weasel themselves back in !!

Gunga Din

Not rodent related but TWC related, this morning they were going on about the flooding of the Ohio River in Cincinnati. In order to be able to use a superlative, they said the Ohio was the highest it’s been since 1997!
I checked. It was. It crested at 60.53 feet. It was higher in 1997, 64.70 feet.
But it’s been higher 21 other times. Most long before the “CAGW” meme.
Here’s the top 25 (less this one). from here

Historic Crests
(1) 80.00 ft on 01/26/1937
(2) 71.10 ft on 02/14/1884
(3) 69.90 ft on 04/01/1913
(4) 69.20 ft on 03/07/1945
(5) 66.30 ft on 02/15/1883
(6) 66.20 ft on 03/11/1964
(7) 65.20 ft on 01/21/1907
(8) 64.80 ft on 04/18/1948
(9) 64.70 ft on 03/05/1997
(10) 63.60 ft on 03/21/1933
(11) 62.20 ft on 01/14/1913
(12) 62.10 ft on 03/18/1907
(13) 61.80 ft on 02/12/1918
(14) 61.40 ft on 03/29/1898
(15) 61.32 ft on 03/03/1962
(16) 61.27 ft on 03/01/1962
(17) 61.20 ft on 02/26/1897
(18) 61.20 ft on 02/01/1918
(19) 61.00 ft on 03/10/1955
(20) 60.80 ft on 01/04/1943
(21) 60.60 ft on 03/28/1936
(22) 60.04 ft on 04/24/1940
(23) 59.90 ft on 03/23/1943
(24) 59.80 ft on 03/11/1967
(25) 59.70 ft on 04/27/1901

And just for giggles, here are the…bottom records.

Low Water Records
(1) 1.90 ft on 09/17/1881
(2) 2.30 ft on 10/08/1862
(3) 2.30 ft on 09/22/1874
(4) 2.30 ft on 10/27/1895
(5) 2.40 ft on 10/23/1879