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NWS Atlanta predicts coming of torrential Cthulhu, Twitter braces for Armageddon

By Benjamin Bullard
A storm at sea in Dishonored 2 video game

Sometimes, when it rains, it doesn’t just pour — it roars with the epochal fury of a tentacle-headed Old One. At least, that was the apocalyptic forecast sent out by the Atlanta office of the National Weather Service on Monday, as a fresh storm deluge — one of several waves of rain to douse the area in recent weeks — came bearing down with all the eldritch fury of a wroth sea god

Fed up with the relentless diluvian rampage and resigned to a fate of ceaseless rain, the weather service prepped social media followers by sending out an H.P. Lovecraft-worthy tweet, a baleful skyward cry of surrender to the overwhelming forces of nature (and, yes, the slumbering deep). “Come, lord Cthulhu,” it seemed to say — and the internet responded in kind. 

Things must be pretty dire when a certified meteorologist jokes that it’s raining hard enough to wake the elder gods from their eternal slumber. And never let it be said that Twitter users in Georgia aren’t well versed in Lovecraft lore. The responses weren’t just on point — they were plenty funny, too:

NWS meteorologist Ty Vaughn, the guy who wrote the tweet, told SYFY WIRE he was mildly surprised at the response his nod to one of the horror literati’s most sinister time ravagers has gotten. “Honestly, I had no idea that it would get such a reaction,” said Vaughn on Tuesday, a day after his tweet went viral. “I thought maybe a handful of people would get the Lovecraft reference, but I was surprised at how it took off.”

For the record, Vaughn’s enough of a Lovecraft fan to know his Cthulhu from his Father Dagon and Mother Hydra — but crafting an eye-catching tweet is about name recognition, and in the Lovecraft universe, there’s no bigger name than Cthulhu.

“Having the nutty meteorology background, I’m not saying I’m the most devout fan,” Vaughn modestly admitted. “I could have held up another elder god who’s probably more suited for heavy rain. But I knew Cthulhu would be a well-known name to people, so I went with that.” 

There’s definitely an art to catching the eye of online readers in need of vital weather information, and Vaughn says the NWS Atlanta staff saves the funny stuff for moments that don’t detract from a crucial weather warning.

“All of our ‘hard’ tweets — watches and warnings issued by the National Weather Service — are very serious,” he said. “I would say the majority of the things we put out have that air of seriousness about them. But you can put out a million tweets every day, and if nobody looks at them, it doesn’t do any good. So I think the most important thing we can do is to highlight the messages, and to get people to engage whenever possible — and if that means doing something fun, then we go for it.”

As it stands, rain-soaked Georgia residents may have escaped Cthulhu’s wrath — at least for now. But as long as Cthulhu sleeps, perhaps just off the Atlantic coast and waiting to cast his shadow over the Eastern seaboard, well … you can never be too watchful.

“I think for the time being we’re going to be alright,” Vaughn joked. “But we’ve definitely got our eyes on it.”