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      Social media may power future weather forecasts

      Social media is changing the way we view weather, and in the future your tweet may improve weather forecasts.

      Internet connectivity has altered our reality and allowed us to be plugged in at all hours. The arrival of social media and smart phones has permanently changed the way we keep up with weather. The rapid dissemination of information means that the average citizen is able to keep track of the weather, and nowhere is this more relevant than with severe weather updates.

      Here in Amarillo, weather events can be a threat to life and property. Recognizing the need for both disaster preparedness and weather alerts, the Red Cross offers a wide array of free apps to prepare and survive a disaster. And the Red Crossâ?? apps are just of few of the apps available on the google play store or apps store on iPhones.

      â??The Red Cross Tornado app is available on Apple or Android platforms, and it contains a wealth of information not just what to do after a tornado, how to prepare for a tornado, and it can alert you to a tornado,â?? said Monica Lea from the Red Cross of Amarillo.

      Connectivity is a two-way street. Not only can we receive information, but we can also contribute through social media. Social media means that millions can participate in monitoring weather, and we are becoming a critical part of weather forecasting and the dissemination of weather related information.

      Oklahoma University Professor Jack Friedman is part of a federally funded study on how the power of twitter can be harnessed to improve forecasting. He came by the station and interviewed Pronews 7â??s own Brian James as part of the universityâ??s study.

      Scientists are trying to see how all they can filter through the millions of tweets and utilize the information in a way that is useful through data mining and algorithms.

      â??We've basically been able to show that there's a certain amount of content that comes out of these tweets that might be if you have the right sort of computer programming to do something with all this twitter information in real time they might be a real resource,â?? said Dr. Friedman of the University of Oklahoma. â??This is sort of a perfect way of tracing a storm and really knowing what's going on and saving lives, saving property, and that is really the essence of meteorology.â?? â??It is the essence of storm forecasting. All of these things; that's what our project is about in a nutshell.â??

      Social media continues to revolutionize the weather related industry, as thereâ??s no substitution for eyewitnesses. Here at Pronews 7, we are already actively using your weather updates through storm search 7â??s Facebook and twitter pages.