Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Severe Weather with a Chance of Tweets!

The National Weather Service (NWS) is now looking to weather spotters like us to report severe weather via "tweets" on Twitter.

The NWS is most interested in reports of large-scale weather events such as snowfall, severe weather and flooding, and anyone with a Twitter account can participate. Weather tweeters are asked to briefly describe the event, when it occurred, and where if the person doesn't have geotagging capability. Geotagging is the process of adding geographical identification data to various media such as photographs, video, websites, etc.

The NWS says one of the greatest benefits to using Twitter for weather reports is the capability of geotagging the location of a tweet. During last week's severe thunderstorms that stretched through several Southern states, three tornadoes were confirmed with tweets. One showed a photo of a touchdown in Howardwick, Texas.

To post a weather tweet that's accessible by the NWS, you'll take one of two steps:

1. For those without the geotagging option, you'll log into your Twitter account via the Web or mobile device and submit the tweet in the following format: #wxreport WW your location WW your significant weather report.

2. For those with geotagging, first make sure the function is turned on and then submit the tweet as follows: #wxreport your significant weather report.

For more information on weather tweets and how to access such reports for your area, visit www.weather.gov/stormreports.