NWS Enlists Twitter Users for Weather Reports

Everyone talks about the weather.  Now's your chance to "tweet" it and be heard.  Through an experimental program, the National Weather Service will be searching for tweets that contain significant weather information. 

Why Twitter?

An advantage of searching Twitter for weather reports is the capability to utilize recently added "geotagging" -- geographical information that is associated with something, in this case individual Tweets.  This allows the NWS to correlate each Tweet to its location when it was sent.  This capability will help to enhance and increase timely and accurate online weather reporting and communication between the public and their local weather forecast offices.  The reports will be carefully evaluated during the experiment to ensure quality and timeliness.

Who Can Participate?

Anyone with a Twitter account can participate.  Note: Trained storm spotters should use the spotter toll-free line or eSpotter, when possible, to send severe weather reports to the NWS.

Here's What You Need to Do:

If Geotagging is available on your Twitter application:

  1. Make sure geotagging is turned on for your 3rd party Twitter app.
  2. Make sure geotagging is turned on for your Twitter account page.
  3. Submit your Tweet report via your 3rd party app in the following format:
    #wxreport your significant weather report

Some examples of weather report Tweets with geotagging:

  Ex. 1:   #wxreport 6.0" of new snow as of 1 pm
  Ex. 2:   #wxreport Hail 3/4 inch in diameter at 4:25 pm


If Geotagging is NOT available on your Twitter application:

  1. Log into your Twitter account via the web or mobile device.
  2. Submit your Tweet report in the following format:
    #wxreport  WW  your location  WW  your significant weather report
  3. Your location can be just about anything, but the more specific the better.  Here are some examples:
    • Most accurate--A latitude and longitude:
       WW 44.231, -88.485 WW
    • An address:
       WW 26 Weather Lane, Sioux Falls, SD 57104 WW
    • A street intersection:
       WW intersection of Cliff Ave and Benson Road, Sioux Falls, SD WW
    • A city name:
       WW Sioux City,  IA WW
    • Least accurate--A zip code:
       WW 57104 WW
Some examples of weather report Tweets without geotagging:

  Ex. 1:   #wxreport WW 26 Weather Lane, Sioux Falls, SD WW 6.0" new snow as of 1 pm
  Ex. 2:   #wxreport WW 43.55, -96.7 WW Hail 3/4 inch in diameter at 4:25 pm


What You Can Report

You can report any weather event that occurs in your local area, but we are most interested in significant events: snowfall, severe weather, flooding, etc.  In particular:

  • Snowfall during an event and storm total. When reporting snowfall, include the time period when it fell.
  • Freezing rain or freezing drizzle producing a 'glaze' on objects or roads.
  • Dense fog restricting visibility to less than a half mile.
  • Damage from winds--briefly describe what was damaged and time it occurred.
  • Hail--include size of hail and time it fell.
  • Tornadoes or funnel clouds.
  • Flooding--briefly describe what is occurring.

You can also include pictures, too!


Additional Guidance

  • The purpose of this project is to allow people to submit reports. Please be responsible and respectful of the purpose.
  • Be as specific as possible when describing the weather report.
  • Note: Trained storm spotters should use the spotter report toll-free line or eSpotter to send severe weather reports to the NWS.
  • A valid Twitter user account is required to submit reports.  As such, use of this service constitutes an agreement to the terms of service of the provider. Go to: http://twitter.com/tos for more information


    If you have any questions, please contact Todd Heitkamp, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, NWS Sioux Falls, SD:
    E-mail: todd.heitkamp@noaa.gov  -or-  on Twitter: @ToddHeitkamp

 

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This project is still in an experimental state, and we will be accepting feedback though the 2010 calendar year. For more detailed information on this service, please click here.


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