National Weather Service wants tweeters to become tweeteorologists
NWS launches new program that enables anyone with a cell phone to become a weather ambassador and help improve the accuracy of local forecasts.
Thu, Jan 07, 2010 at 05:52 PM
Are you tired of your local weather man or woman always getting the forecast wrong? Well take heart, the National Weather Service wants to enlist tweeters everywhere to join the ranks of the meteorologically obsessed … that is until they can get automakers to create cars that report weather data automatically.
Discovery News’ Larry O’Hanlon writes in a story for msnbc.com, “A brand-new program using twitter to gather weather information has been launched. At the same time, meteorologists are testing a system to turn cars into roving weather stations, so drivers everywhere will know exactly what the road ahead has in store.”
The NWS already has convinced automakers to create vehicles with headlights, windshield wipers, thermometers, barometers, brakes, and GPS receivers capable of transmitting real-time weather-related data to their centers for analysis. Until those vehicles begin rolling off of production lines, the NWS wants Tweeters to take over this task.
The article says, "There's actually quite a bit of gaps between them," said weather researcher Sheldon Drobot of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.
Drobot will be presenting the latest developments of this high-tech pilot program, taking place in Detroit, Mich., at the meeting of the American Meteorological Society in Atlanta on Jan. 18 and 19. The twitter-based program, however, has just recently been launched.
"If you go to twitter and type in hail or rain, you'll find a lot of tweets," said NWS meteorologist Tim Brice of the El Paso forecast office in Santa Teresa, N.M. The new NWS program is striving to get tweeters to use specific hashtags for weather-related tweets so that they can more easily find and utilize them to fine-tune weather warnings.
If you really want to go hard core, you can opt in to the program's voluntary geotagging capabilities to let the NWS track your location as it pertains to your weather-related tweets. Pretty sweet, huh?
If this system had been in place a little sooner, perhaps the weather folks near me wouldn’t have forecasted 5’’ of snow today when we actually got a dusting. More times than not, I’d like to call it the local FAILcast.
Fortunately, it looks like the NWS wants to take FAIL out of it.