It seems that a lot of government scientists are betting people will turn to Twitter when Mother Nature lets loose. Earlier, we wrote about the USGS’s Twitter Earthquake Detector, and it turns out that the National Weather Service has cooked up something similar for storms.
Here’s an official description of how the Twitter Storm Reports program is supposed to work: "The public will submit critical weather reports including a short description of their location (e.g. ‘corner of 10th and Taylor fort worth tx’), and optionally photographs using the Twitter web interface, any number of 3rd party Twitter interfaces, or via a form set up on the NWS web farm."
Then the NWS will sic some software upon the reports and decide whether or not the information should be passed on through existing products.
This approach could work quite well, since information will only come from people who are intentionally participating (in comparison, the earthquake system scans for keywords that can be used out of context). Also, the NWS has made it quite clear that tweets should include geographic info (whereas the earthquake system has to find location info where it can).
Format your storm report tweets to look like #wxreport WW <your location> WW <your signifcant weather report> if you feel like participating. Do so after taking cover, of course.