Kevin Martin, notorious purveyor of weather hoaxes and second prize in a Johnny Depp lookalike contest, is the subject of a federal investigation after issuing threats of violence last month against the National Weather Service in San Diego, CA. He recorded the FBI visiting his house, and surprise!, it didn't go well.
If you've followed weather news for any length of time, you're probably aware of Martin's reputation of threats, intimidation, and wildly inaccurate weather information he creates specifically for the purpose of going viral on social media. The thirty-something California resident, often unlovingly called "K-Mart," has been the source of many widespread weather hoaxes in the past year, including false prophecies of doom last winter and one steaming pile of Facebook virality in August that threatened the entire Gulf Coast with a non-existent major hurricane. The latter hoax spread so far and wide that even The Weather Channel had to call him out on it.
A hoax about the weather is markedly different from a hoax about a celebrity death or one of those awful ripoffs of The Onion that uses deceitful headlines to trick you into thinking something horrible happened. False weather forecasts do real harm to the public as they degrade trust in trained meteorologists who produce valid, accurate forecasts. When the public sees a hoax about a major hurricane or catastrophic blizzard that doesn't exist, the vast majority of readers don't think to corroborate it with other sources and check the validity of the article in question. They take the hoax for face value, blame real meteorologists when it doesn't pan out, and their trust in scientific forecasts drops. Kevin Martin is at the forefront of the hoaxer movement, and his actions are single-handedly responsible for hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people receiving false weather information on numerous occasions.
Over the years, Martin has created a slew of websites on which he issues dubious forecasts that he claims are better than those produced by the National Weather Service. Martin uses his self-taught knowledge of meteorology (such as it is) to arrive at the grandiose proclamations of doom and destruction that so often spread like wildfire. He also claims to fall somewhere along the autism spectrum, which he uses to explain his superior knowledge of meteorology (cough) and defend his terrible behavior, the latter of which has been derided as complete bull by anyone with autism or even a passing knowledge of the developmental disorder.
In addition to the websites that are often taken offline—including such classics as The Weather Space, Weather Alert Central, Southern California Weather Authority, Northeast U.S. Weather, Triforce Weather, and his most recent creation, National Weather Force—he runs a series of websites that claim to keep track of the "chemtrails" (which don't exist) and "HAARP waves" (which don't exist in that capacity) that conspiracy theorists swear are used by the government to control the weather. There's the source of that superior scientific forecasting for you.
Martin is also infamous for spoofing official products issued by the National Weather Service, going so far as to copy their exact product formatting in order to trick people into thinking his forecasts and severe weather warnings are valid and produced by the government agency. The agency's headquarters in Washington had to issue a statement back in 2011 specifically calling Martin out for this tactic while distancing themselves from his faulty prognostications.
Kevin and his twin brother Brian are perhaps most notorious for the unbelievable lengths to which they'll threaten and harass anyone whom they perceive as slighting their name or their work. The threats and intimidation are so bad that there was a point in the not-too-distant past when even wildly popular meteorologists were afraid to call him and his products out for what they are.
Martin's biggest target over the years has been the National Weather Service, and it looks like his violent rhetoric is finally coming home to roost. It should come as no surprise that Kevin Martin is now under local and federal investigation for using social media to threaten the National Weather Service's office in San Diego. As recently as last month, Martin used a variety of dummy accounts on Facebook to threaten the building and its employees, going so far as to draw crosshairs on satellite snapshots of the office, accompanied by the ominous message "endanger the public and I endanger you."
During the height of the situation in December, employees at NWS San Diego were informed that management had increased security at the building, and that local and federal authorities were actively investigating his threats against the agency.
A few weeks ago, Martin used a dummy YouTube account to post a video of his interaction with two agents from the FBI after they showed up at his home to interview him. Martin subsequently posted the YouTube video and his account of the interaction to an "alternative" news website called Before It's News.
Martin has since deleted both the video and the post from their original sources, but nothing ever goes away on the internet.
[There was a video here]
Regarding the video, Martin said in his post:
The National Weather Service sent FBI agents to a weather forecaster of NationalWeatherForce.com and SouthernCaliforniaWeatherForce.com, attempting to scare him into not talking smack on the National Weather Service on their Facebook Pages when they deserve it.
This has been a long ongoing battle and this shows you how to assert yourself, video the situation, and send the FBI back with their tails between their legs in less than two minutes. Heck no one had to answer questions but to show you how to handle the feds in two minutes this is how you do it and send them packing.
No Feds will tell us how to forecast weather and silence us against the inaccurate forecasts at NOAA.
Threats against the National Weather Service aside, the list of people the Martin twins have threatened grows longer by the week. One of the worst instances occurred back in January 2014, when Kevin wrote a thoroughly libelous article on his website falsely accusing an Oklahoma City meteorologist of being a child molester after he took to his Facebook page to call Martin a "nut job."
Last September, I wrote an article about Martin's one-man protest against Facebook after the social media behemoth banned him for abuses of the website's terms of service. After catching wind of the article, Martin copied my post and republished it word-for-word (links back to The Vane and all) to his website. Then, in some cartoonish attempt to get me fired for criticizing him, he contacted Gawker Media's legal department and claimed that I plagiarized my critical article of him from him.
After legal told Martin to cut it out, he lost it and left the following voicemail on the phone of the company's lawyers:
You're such a fucking bitch, uh, fucking cunt. I don't even know, I could call you every fucking name in the book. Yeah, this is Kevin again. Uh, I did hide the material just so that I could see it and I am going to be using that, um, so it is behind a wall where only the admin can see it. Of course, that's me, nothing you can fucking do about it you little fucking cunt.
Um, but I'm gonna let you know that what you sent, that says you're not in any way, any way, in any facts, no, you guys will fucking remove "scam," you'll fucking remove "fraud," and you'll fucking remove the "hoax" bullshit. You will fucking remove that shit or you're gonna have me on your fucking ass, you got me?
Just one month earlier, again reacting to criticism against his tactics, the prolific threatmonger took to his site's Twitter account to issue a death threat against the hosts of a popular weekly web show called WeatherBrains, including legendary Alabama meteorologist James Spann.
Early in 2014, Kevin's twin brother Brian sent me a more subtle death threat on Facebook after I wrote a pointed article about the former after his "enormous blizzard threatens hundreds of millions" fiasco. Regular readers may remember this exchange as containing the amazing "clock sucker" insult.
I mention the Martins' threats and harassment against me and Gawker because they are typical examples of the lengths to which they'll go to stifle any criticism of Kevin or his practices. There are countless more examples out there ranging from television meteorologists to run-of-the-mill social media users who ran afoul of the Wrath of K-Mart. Just the simple mention of his name will result in a threatening message in many cases, and actively attempting to correct the harm done by his inaccurate posts will result in much worse, as seen by the threats leveled at the National Weather Service and others.
Charges have yet to be filed against Martin on the local or the federal level, but given the ugliness of the threats and relentless manner in which he pursues the targets of his aggression, it's only a matter of time before he's forced to take responsibility for his actions. The Vane will have more coverage of the situation if investigators decide there's enough evidence to ask for an indictment.
[Images: YouTube, Twitter, Facebook]