Pine Belt Weather Alerts
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Flood Warning
...the Flood Warning Has Been Extended For The Following Rivers In Connecticut... Connecticut River At Middle Haddam Affecting Middlesex County An Ice Jam Continues To Keep The Connecticut River At Middle Haddam Above Flood Stage. The River Level Is Expected To Slowly Recede. The Flood Warning Continues For ...Read More.
Effective: January 17, 2018 at 11:21amExpires: January 18, 2018 at 9:00amTarget Area: Middlesex

Flood Warning
The National Weather Service In Albany Has Extended The * Flood Warning For... Southwestern Litchfield County In Northern Connecticut... * Until 130 Pm Est Thursday * At 749 Am Est, Local Law Enforcement Reported Flooding Continuing Along The Housatonic River At Kent Due To An Ice Jam. Waters Have ...Read More.
Effective: January 16, 2018 at 7:51amExpires: January 18, 2018 at 1:30pmTarget Area: Litchfield

Flood Warning
...the Flood Warning Continues For The Following Rivers In Maine Kennebec River At Augusta Affecting Kennebec County The Flood Warning Continues For The Kennebec River At Augusta. * Until This Evening. * At 1 Am Thursday The Stage Was 11.7 Feet. ...Read More.
Effective: January 18, 2018 at 1:54amExpires: January 18, 2018 at 6:25pmTarget Area: Kennebec

Flood Warning
...the Flood Warning Continues For The Following Rivers In Michigan...wisconsin... Menominee River Near Pembine Affecting Menominee And Marinette Counties The Flood Warning Continues For The Menominee River Near Pembine. ...Read More.
Effective: January 17, 2018 at 8:59pmExpires: January 18, 2018 at 11:59amTarget Area: Menominee

Flood Warning
The National Weather Service In Albany Has Extended The * Flood Warning For... Central Warren County In East Central New York... * Until 1000 Am Est Friday * At 824 Am Est, Emergency Management Continues To Report Flooding Along Route 418 Between Thurman And Warrensburg, Along River Road ...Read More.
Effective: January 17, 2018 at 8:26amExpires: January 19, 2018 at 10:00amTarget Area: Warren

Flood Warning
...the Flood Warning Continues For The Following Rivers In Michigan...wisconsin... Menominee River Near Pembine Affecting Menominee And Marinette Counties The Flood Warning Continues For The Menominee River Near Pembine. ...Read More.
Effective: January 17, 2018 at 7:59pmExpires: January 18, 2018 at 10:59amTarget Area: Marinette

Winter Storm Warning
...winter Storm Warning In Effect From 4 Pm Thursday To 4 Pm Pst Friday... * What...heavy Snow Expected With Strong Damaging Winds Possible. Plan On Difficult Travel Conditions In Near White Out Conditions At Times. Damage To Trees And Power Lines Will Be Possible As Well. Total Snow Accumulations Of 4 To 7 Inches With Localized ...Read More.
Effective: January 17, 2018 at 2:32pmExpires: January 19, 2018 at 4:00pmTarget Area: Greater Lake Tahoe Area

Winter Storm Warning
...heavy Snow Possible Over The Mountains Thursday Through Friday... .a Cold Pacific Storm System Is Forecast To Move Through The Interior Of Northern California On Thursday And Thursday Night, With Snow Showers Continuing Through The Day On Friday. Snow Levels Will Lower Rapidly With This Storm, Dropping To Around ...Read More.
Effective: January 17, 2018 at 2:11pmExpires: January 19, 2018 at 4:00pmTarget Area: West Slope Northern Sierra Nevada; Western Plumas County, Lassen Park

Winter Storm Warning
...winter Storm Warning Remains In Effect Until 7 Am Est This Morning... * What...snow Will Taper Off Across Northeast North Carolina Through 7 Am. Plan On Difficult Travel Conditions, Including During The Morning Commute. Total Snow Accumulation Of 3 To 6 Inches Are Expected. Highest Near The Albemarle Sound And ...Read More.
Effective: January 18, 2018 at 3:56amExpires: January 18, 2018 at 7:00amTarget Area: Camden; Chowan; Eastern Currituck; Pasquotank; Perquimans; Western Currituck

Winter Storm Warning
...light Snow Will Continue Over Eastern North Carolina Through The Early Morning Hours... .low Pressure Off The Coast Will Quickly Move Off To The Northeast This Morning. As A Result, Light Snow Will Taper Off And End From Southwest To Northeast. ...winter Storm Warning Remains In Effect Until 6 Am Est Early ...Read More.
Effective: January 18, 2018 at 3:49amExpires: January 18, 2018 at 6:00amTarget Area: Beaufort; Carteret; Craven; Mainland Dare; Mainland Hyde; Outer Banks Dare; Outer Banks Hyde; Pamlico; Tyrrell; Washington

Winter Storm Warning
...winter Storm Warning In Effect From 4 Pm Thursday To 4 Pm Pst Friday... * What...heavy Snow Expected With Strong Damaging Winds Possible. Plan On Difficult Travel Conditions In Near White Out Conditions At Times. Damage To Trees And Power Lines Will Be Possible As Well. Total Snow Accumulations Of 4 To 7 Inches With Localized ...Read More.
Effective: January 17, 2018 at 2:32pmExpires: January 19, 2018 at 4:00pmTarget Area: Greater Lake Tahoe Area

Freeze Warning
...freeze Warning Remains In Effect Until 9 Am This Morning... ...freeze Watch Issued For Late Tonight Through Friday Morning... The National Weather Service In Melbourne Has Issued A Freeze Watch, Which Is In Effect From Late Tonight Through Friday Morning. * Temperature...overnight Low Temperatures Have Already Dropped ...Read More.
Effective: January 18, 2018 at 3:57amExpires: January 18, 2018 at 9:00amTarget Area: Coastal Volusia County; Inland Volusia County; Northern Lake County; Southern Lake County

Freeze Warning
...freeze Warning Remains In Effect Until 9 Am Est This Morning... * Temperature...overnight Low Temperatures Have Already Dropped Into The Lower To Middle 30 Across The Warning Area, With Some Readings Around 30 Degrees In Rural Sheltered Spots North Of Interstate 4. Lows Will Reach The Lower 30s Across The Warning Area, With A Few Upper 20s Possible In Sheltered Spots. A Freeze ...Read More.
Effective: January 18, 2018 at 3:57amExpires: January 18, 2018 at 9:00amTarget Area: Orange; Osceola; Seminole

Freeze Warning
...freezing Temperatures This Morning And Again Late Tonight Through Friday Morning... .cold Air Continues To Surge Into The Region This Morning, With Several Locations Already Observing Freezing Temperatures. These Will Spread Southward Across The Warning Area Through Sunrise. Steady Northerly Winds Will Also Combine With The Cold Temperatures To ...Read More.
Effective: January 18, 2018 at 2:57amExpires: January 18, 2018 at 9:00amTarget Area: Coastal Charlotte; Coastal Hillsborough; Coastal Manatee; Coastal Sarasota; DeSoto; Hardee; Highlands; Inland Charlotte; Inland Lee; Inland Manatee; Inland Sarasota; Pinellas

Freeze Warning
...freezing Temperatures This Morning And Again Late Tonight Through Friday Morning... .cold Air Continues To Surge Into The Region This Morning, With Several Locations Already Observing Freezing Temperatures. These Will Spread Southward Across The Warning Area Through Sunrise. Steady Northerly Winds Will Also Combine With The Cold Temperatures To ...Read More.
Effective: January 18, 2018 at 2:57amExpires: January 18, 2018 at 9:00amTarget Area: Coastal Pasco; Inland Hillsborough; Polk

Freeze Warning
...freezing Temperatures This Morning And Again Late Tonight Through Friday Morning... .cold Air Continues To Surge Into The Region This Morning, With Several Locations Already Observing Freezing Temperatures. These Will Spread Southward Across The Warning Area Through Sunrise. Steady Northerly Winds Will Also Combine With The Cold Temperatures To ...Read More.
Effective: January 18, 2018 at 2:57amExpires: January 18, 2018 at 9:00amTarget Area: Coastal Hernando

Freeze Warning
...freeze Warning Remains In Effect Until 8 Am Est This Morning... * Temperature...freezing Temperatures Are Expected Early This Morning Over Portions Of Glades And Hendry Counties. * Impacts...freezing Temperatures Will Be A Danger For Pets, Livestock, And Sensitive Vegetation. ...Read More.
Effective: January 18, 2018 at 2:55amExpires: January 18, 2018 at 8:00amTarget Area: Glades; Hendry

Freeze Warning
...one More Bitterly Cold Night ... .with An Arctic Airmass Firmly In Place Across The Region, One Final Cold Night Is In Store For The Area With Lows Mainly In The 20s. ...hard Freeze Warning Remains In Effect Until 11 Am Cst This Morning... ...Read More.
Effective: January 18, 2018 at 3:36amExpires: January 19, 2018 at 10:00amTarget Area: Assumption; Orleans; St. Charles; St. James; St. John The Baptist; Upper Jefferson; Upper Lafourche; Upper Plaquemines; Upper St. Bernard; Upper Terrebonne

Freeze Warning
...freezing Temperatures This Morning Over South Texas... .freezing Temperatures Expected This Morning Across South Texas. Temperatures Will Remain Below Freezing Through The Mid Morning, Before Gradually Warming Throughout The Day. ...freeze Warning Remains In Effect Until 10 Am Cst This Morning... ...Read More.
Effective: January 18, 2018 at 3:18amExpires: January 18, 2018 at 10:00amTarget Area: Aransas; Bee; Calhoun; Duval; Goliad; Jim Wells; Kleberg; La Salle; Live Oak; McMullen; Nueces; Refugio; San Patricio; Victoria; Webb

Freeze Warning
...freezing Temperatures Across Deep South Texas Tonight... .temperatures Tonight Are Expected To Drop Below Freezing Again Across Most Of Deep South Texas As A Very Cold Air Mass Remains In Place. With Light Winds Overnight, A Few Locations May Drop Into The Mid 20s In The Northern Ranchlands. By Mid-morning Temperatures Will Rise Above Freezing With Highs Only Reaching The ...Read More.
Effective: January 17, 2018 at 4:25pmExpires: January 18, 2018 at 9:00amTarget Area: Brooks; Hidalgo; Inland Willacy; Jim Hogg; Kenedy; Starr; Zapata

High Wind Warning
...high Wind Warning Remains In Effect Until 4 Am Pst Thursday... ...wind Advisory Remains In Effect Until 4 Am Pst Thursday... * Winds...south To Southeast 30 To 40 Mph With Gusts Up To 60 Mph. * Timing...strong Winds Will Continue Through Late Tonight. The Strongest Winds Will Occur During Early This Evening. ...Read More.
Effective: January 17, 2018 at 9:51pmExpires: January 18, 2018 at 4:00amTarget Area: Central Siskiyou County

High Wind Warning
...high Wind Warning Remains In Effect From 4 Pm Thursday To 4 Am Pst Friday... * Timing: Winds Will Begin Increasing By Mid To Late Thursday Morning Ahead Of A Strong Cold Front. Winds Are Expected To Peak Thursday Evening Or Very Early Friday Morning Before Decreasing Behind The Front. ...Read More.
Effective: January 17, 2018 at 3:16pmExpires: January 19, 2018 at 4:00amTarget Area: Mono

High Wind Warning
...high Wind Warning Remains In Effect From 10 Am To 10 Pm Pst Thursday... * Timing: South To Southwest Winds Will Begin Increasing Early Thursday Morning Ahead Of A Strong Cold Front. Winds Will Peak Thursday Afternoon And Early Evening Before Decreasing Behind The Front. ...Read More.
Effective: January 17, 2018 at 3:16pmExpires: January 18, 2018 at 10:00pmTarget Area: Greater Reno-Carson City-Minden Area

High Wind Warning
...high Wind Warning Remains In Effect Until 4 Am Pst Thursday... ...wind Advisory Remains In Effect Until 7 Am Pst Thursday... * Winds...south 35 To 45 Mph With Gusts To 60 Mph Possible. * Timing...south Winds Will Continue Through Early Thursday Morning, Reaching A Peak After Midnight Tonight. * Locations Include...highway 395 From Lakeview North To The ...Read More.
Effective: January 17, 2018 at 9:51pmExpires: January 18, 2018 at 4:00amTarget Area: Central and Eastern Lake County; Northern and Eastern Klamath County and Western Lake County

High Wind Warning
...strong Winds Expected Late Tonight And Friday Morning For The Southeast Wyoming Wind Prone Areas... .strengthening Surface And Low Level Pressure Gradients Will Cause Winds To Become Strong Late Tonight And Friday Morning. ...high Wind Warning In Effect From Midnight Tonight Through Friday Morning... ...Read More.
Effective: January 18, 2018 at 1:46amExpires: January 19, 2018 at 12:00pmTarget Area: North Snowy Range Foothills

High Wind Warning
...strong Winds Between Cody And Clark This Morning... .strong Downslope Winds Will Occasionally Push Down The Mountains Into The Cody Foothills Through This Morning. ...high Wind Warning Remains In Effect Until Noon Mst Today... * Timing...through This Morning. Winds Are Expected To Diminish Below 7500 Feet This Afternoon. ...Read More.
Effective: January 18, 2018 at 12:56amExpires: January 18, 2018 at 12:00pmTarget Area: Cody Foothills

Jun 14

Social Media: A New Horizon for Forecasting

Social Media: A New Horizon for Forecasting

Like many meteorologists and weather enthusiasts who are reading this article, I have been fascinated with the weather for as long as I can remember. When I was younger, in the “B.C.” (Before Computers) years, if you had an interest in weather, the only way to further that interest was to watch the weatherman on the six o’clock news or subscribe to Weatherwise magazine.

Oh, how the times have changed.

A Change in the Weather

One could argue that weather-related social media have existed at least since the dawn of the Internet, though not in the same forms as today. In the 1990s, weather enthusiasts shared weather stories and photos via e-mail lists and newsgroups; even earlier, members of the Association of American Weather Observers communicated with each other on paper, and storm chasers swapped stories via StormTrack, both through print publications.

But these early efforts to create a meteorologist community lacked the exponential growth potential of the social media phenomenon. Today, social media offer a quick and easy way for the public to interact with meteorologists and other weather enthusiasts, providing observations, discussion, images, and video in near real-time from their own locations. With nearly one billion people on Facebook and hundreds of millions on other networks such as Twitter and Google+, social media’s strengths are in numbers and in reach.

Having led AccuWeather’s online community for 16 years, when I first started, I couldn’t have imagined being able to interact with millions of “weather weenies” in real time. And yet here we are.

Caption: imapweather.com displays a radar image and amateur weather stations.

Caption: imapweather.com displays a radar image and amateur weather stations.

Colliding Fronts: Social Media and Weather Forecasting

Why does weather lend itself to social media? In order to be useful, weather forecasts need to be both timely and local. Social media offer unbeatable immediacy.

Citizens worldwide can obtain critical, breaking weather information through mobile devices and transmit photos or videos of severe weather events to the Internet in real-time to platforms such as Facebook. By leveraging groups such as AccuWeather.com on Facebook, users can not only share their own experiences but can also engage with meteorologists and one another to share ideas and resources—not just reporting the situation but helping them to examine and better understand it.

In terms of localization, social media have the advantage of being nearly ubiquitous. Wherever high speed Internet access is available, there is a preponderance of Facebook users, and other platforms like Twitter and Google+ are quickly gaining momentum.

Caption: The AccuWeather.com Facebook Page, with user-contributed content.

Caption: The AccuWeather.com Facebook Page, with user-contributed content.

Forecasting Made Faster

Social media make weather news faster and more relevant than ever by giving the public access to weather news, tips, and comments. Direct access to weather talent (local meteorologists, weather bloggers, and national weather celebrities) is available 24/7, making the weather experience more personal and more open to two-way communication and feedback between the audience and the forecasting agency.

Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ offer excellent ways to access weather news immediately. Severe weather reports, photos, and videos are transmitted to the National Weather Service offices via its local Facebook pages, or with the #wxreport “hash tag” on Twitter. Private weather companies such as AccuWeather and The Weather Channel put out information and statistics in real time on those social channels as news comes in.

Storm chasers post photos, radar shots, and storm descriptions through these social media tools, sometimes before giving them to local or national private media. Live “chase cams” show their locations and live streaming video through SevereStudios.com and ChaserTV.com. IMapWeather.com puts ChaserTV live feeds on a map and broadcasts the data that NOAA compiles from thousands of amateur weather stations, including the one I installed on the roof here at AccuWeather Headquarters in State College, Pennsylvania. Now anyone can do a “virtual storm chase” by following social media.

AccuWeather uses social media to distribute stories faster than we could through our traditional Web site. For example, within seconds of observing the “Miracle on the Hudson” story break on Twitter, our meteorologists were sending out weather-related facts, such as the water temperature and wind speed, which could affect the survivors.

But we also use social media in the other direction—to get better and faster input from our audience.

A New Dawn for Meteorologists and Their Audiences

Social media democratizes weather news by giving weather consumers a “voice.” Now, our audience can absorb weather stories, tips, and forecasts and respond immediately with their “take” on the story.

Weather is deeply personal after all—many of our biggest fans don’t just want to hear the weather, they want to be part of the information and to choose the stories that are important to them.

Social media allow weather news bloggers and meteorologists to reach out to their fans to get inside local information or opinions. In November 2009, a historic flood in Atlanta, Georgia, shut down the only manufacturing plant for Eggo waffles. A quick post to our AccuWeather.com Facebook fans yielded crucial information about which areas were seeing waffle shortages (and even blueberry versus plain flavors!) as our fans ran out to their local grocery stores to check availability.

James Spann, a television meteorologist in the 40th biggest TV market (Birmingham, Alabama) became an Internet sensation and lightning rod (pun intended) for local reports and photos during the deadly tornado outbreak in his city on April 15, 2011. Armed with a laptop and his green screen, he retransmitted local reports live, on the air. When the TV station radar went down, he rebroadcast the radar from the Internet. On April 27th, the day after more tornadoes ripped through Arkansas, a Facebook fan page helped to connect lost photographs with their owners.

Arturo Salinas, an AccuWeather.com Facebook fan, made our news team aware of the dire flooding situation in Monterrey, Mexico, during Hurricane Alex in July 2010. Because of the language barrier, the United States media were having trouble getting local news reports into the United States from Mexico (unlike Europe, where they have news organizations that translate and circulate news frequently). Salinas provided first-hand accounts, photos, and video of the flooding that AccuWeather.com integrated into news stories and videos for the local AccuWeather whannel.

Social media can also help tell success stories. A National Weather Service weather advisory that appeared on the AccuWeather.com Mobile Web site, and that was accessed via a cell phone (an excellent example of the public/private weather partnership), saved Linda Anfuso’s life during a severe thunderstorm in New York in June 2010. She heeded the warning, getting herself and others to safety before a damaging thunderstorm hit their outdoor festival. Linda told her story on the AccuWeather.com Facebook page.

Facebook allows geographical targeting, enabling AccuWeather.com to reach residents with local weather stories of particular interest to them while filtering out material based on its relevance to certain geographic areas. Dan Morrell, of LeClaire Kettle Corn, commented on Facebook regarding a story that AccuWeather.com meteorologist Alex Sosnowski wrote about corn farmers and the wet summer that harmed crops. Dan said his popcorn crop could suffer if much more rain fell. We took this information and wrote a story just about the popcorn crop in Iowa. We conducted a phone interview with Morrell and quoted him in the article, which we sent out to Iowa Facebook fans.

Today’s Social Media Climate

Along with new possibilities for forecasting companies, including the ability to get stories out faster, greater audience engagement, user-contributed images and videos, and on-the-scene commentary from all over the world, come several new challenges. Like any new medium, social media have their own host of pitfalls that some of the world’s most savvy media organizations step around lightly.

Caption: The “hashtag” #wxreport collects storm spotter reports for the National Weather Service

Caption: The “hashtag” #wxreport collects storm spotter reports for the National Weather Service

For example, photo and video hoaxes abound during severe weather events. During the Huntington Beach, California, tornado in January 2010, photos from a 2006 storm were circulated via Twitter and were rebroadcast by major media outlets. A photo of a shark underwater on a city street turned out to be faked, despite being passed around during several hurricanes. As a news writer and online community manager, you must have strong “crap detection” skills—a term coined by Howard Rheingold, a writer and teacher who has worked with some of the earliest online communities since before the Internet was popular. Social media managers and admini-strators must ask themselves: “Is this information too good to be true, and how can I confirm it?” Photos don’t have to be altered to fool people; sometimes pictures of real weather events can be mislabeled, either by accident or on purpose to perpetrate a hoax. Fortunately, the easiest type of hoax, repurposing a photo, can be busted by using Image Recognition tools such as Google Image Search and TinyEye.com.

The same “trolls” (people who violently disrupt conversations online) who haunted the early days of the Internet are still out there, but now there are advanced tools that enable administrators and users to block them. One of the most popular tools is called a “bozo filter” and makes the offender’s posts appear to be public even though only the offender can see it. This avoids the confrontation and retaliation of banning users from the product, and lets the offenders know that no one is interested in engaging them.

Transparency and honesty are key in communicating with your audience through social media, as major companies like H&M and Chapstick have found out (both took major public relations hits due to their response to customer complaints). Weather forecasting isn’t perfect, so we must hear our detractors out if there is an incorrect forecast, or if they are having trouble using the mobile or online weather tools we provide.

What’s on the Horizon?

Despite what their early detractors may have said, it’s clear that social media are not going away any time soon. Neither will they stay a novelty separate from other forms of media. They have even changed the way traditional media operate, making even network television more of an exchange between news producer and audience.

Given the possibilities that have already been explored with social media in a 24-hour weather forecasting and news cycle, and the growing footprint of the large social media platforms, the trajectory of their role in weather forecasting and news is heading toward interaction and localization.

Social weather is going local by putting tentacles into the weather media Web sites. As of this writing, AccuWeather is testing local chat functions using Twitter and Facebook on its Web sites’ local forecast pages. Going local is good for advertisers because they can better target their audiences. This movement will continue to grow.

Google+ is an up-and-comer in 2012 and will likely become a major channel for weather enthusiasts and photographers to interact, even if it doesn’t become as large as Facebook. Mobile devices will continue to power more and more social media, as more people start using Facebook, Twitter, and similar sites through handheld devices. (Most major weather “apps,” including AccuWeather.com, allow users to upload screenshots of their weather conditions, radar, or forecasts to social media sites).

What Is AccuWeather Doing?

AccuWeather has been developing its social media presence for many years, so we have a head start on other weather companies in knowing how to talk with our audiences.

Our strategy is to continue to listen to our audience and grow, creating more chances for interaction. Our goal is not just to have more efficient dissemination of weather stories, but to help make the stories better by directly involving users who have a more granular and personal view of weather events because they are happening in their back yards.

In short, social media are uniquely powerful for forecasters and their audiences. We look forward to the chance to reach new audiences, connect more with our current audience, and make more timely and accurate forecasts with their input.

The sky is really the limit for the future of weather and social media, and I am always excited to see more weather geeks coming out of the woodwork.

AccuWeather

Social Media Links

Facebook.com/AccuWeather

Facebook.com/TheWeather

Facebook.com/GulfCoastHurricaneCenter

Facebook.com/PineBeltWeather

Facebook.com/MeteorologistJasonScott

Channel

Facebook.com/USNOAAGov

On Twitter

@Storm_Central

@breakingweather

@weatherchannel

@usnoaagov

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