Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Channeling Al Roker-A Social Media Guide To A Hurricane

Living in Florida, afternoon rain is the norm. Actually, much to the dismay of my lawn we haven't had a ton of downfall this year. This week is the 19th year anniversary of Hurricane Andrew and we in Florida still feel the sting of the 2004 Hurricane Season. With Hurricane Irene looking like it will affect our weekend plans, I was thinking how more connected we are now then we were seven years ago thanks to social media and smart phone technology.

Of course, I am sure a good old fashioned weather radio will do just fine. But, I bet that we can get a little more technical in this day and age.

The first thing you want to do is connect with your National Weather Service for breaking news alerts to come to your email, Facebook or Twitter.

To start, you need to find the branch of  National Weather Service for your area. The easiest way to find that out-go to the NOAA Website and enter your zip code, in the left hand corner in blue will tell you what is your nearest NWS branch. (see below) On the website you can then sign up for weather alerts-but you can also find their page and handle on Facebook and Twitter in order to get the information the best way that is most convenient for you.


If you are looking to incorporate your smartphone, your Ipad or social media for your weather, I have some suggestions:

Obviously, The Weather Channel (Weather.com) does a stand-up job on the social media front. They have a facebook, a twitter page and an app. But the newest thing that puts them miles away from their competition is The Weather Channel Social. This is the holy grail of weather and social media. It has everything you could ever ask for to be completely connected to the weather in your area. You put in your zip code and it connects you to what people are saying about the weather in your area, local  flight information, etc. Sure that radar picture is really boring interesting, but this is a good chance to keep you completely connected . Make it a part of your homepage.

The Weather Channel app is free and king in its field. They do an excellent job connecting to its listener and getting them the most accurate information in a really easy way to understand. It is so cool to my nerdy butt self that something so mundane as the weather is marketed so attractively. It has made me fall in love with The Weather Channel brand.

Christian Science Monitor has some apps they suggest for Hurricane Tracking:

The Hurricane HD app is equipped with "video updates for storms currently underway or forming," notes ABC News. It covers hurricanes all over the world. The app costs $2.99.

The iMap Weather Radio app draws on your phone or tablet's GPS and alerts users if they enter an area "where a watch/warning is subsequently issued," among other things. The app costs $9.99. As advertised, this is a radio app. While some users swear by its voice and text alerts, one user says the updates arrive about 30 minutes after the National Weather Service issues a warning: "It once 'alerted' me of a tornado warning after the storms had cleared out." He recommends a NOAA all hazards weather radio (or see the American Red Cross radio below) for faster alerts.

You can also get free weather reports and alerts on your phone or computer by following certain Twitter sites such as: The Weather Channel's twitter feed @weatherchannel

or MyWeather.com tweets: @MyWeather,

or Accu Weather's @breakingweather

You could do a search for "name of hurricane" on your Twitter account and get all of the above in one feed. Also, don't forget to follow your favorite local meteorologist on Twitter-like mine: WESH's @TonyJMainolfi

As much as I love Al Roker or Jim Cantore (who my best friend thought it was a good idea in 2004 to leave my evacuation packing to go a couple of blocks down the road to meet him....true story)-these are a couple of ideas to bring out the meteorologist in all of us.

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