National Weather Service uses your social posts to protect you from danger

Officials with the NWS in Mount Holly say that social media posts made by New Jersey residents during Monday’s powerful thunderstorm actually helped them in their effort to track the weather.

News 12 Staff

Jul 26, 2019, 2:32 AM

Updated 1,769 days ago

Share:

The age of social media has changed the world greatly – some say for the better, some say for the worse.
But there is no doubt that social media helps to connect all citizens of the world with one another, and this can sometimes help those who have a responsibility to protect us – like the National Weather Service.
Officials with the NWS in Mount Holly say that social media posts made by New Jersey residents during Monday’s powerful thunderstorm actually helped them in their effort to track the weather.
“We can use those to verify warnings in real-time,” says meteorologist Alex Staarmann.
Staarmann and his co-workers at the NWS are the ones who decide whether or not to issue a watch or a warning. He says that one of the factors to help decide is videos posted online or sent to them from the public.
"There have been some cases where we were holding off on a warning because we're trying not to over-warn and then we may get a report of a tree down of the storm we didn't think was that strong or hail or whatever the case may be,” Staarmann says.
Staarmann says that this week the NWS Facebook and Twitter pages were flooded with photos and videos sent by New Jersey residents during Monday’s storm.
"With the reports and the pictures that we get, we can go back and look at radar and see the location of the report,” Staarmann says. “And as far as determining whether or not it may be tornadic versus straight-line winds, we can look at the velocity data on radar to see if there was any rotation in the area at that time."
Weather officials will still be sent out to survey the damage and make a final call on what happened. But they say that the pictures and videos help a lot.
But they do warn the public to only take a photo if it is safe to do so.
"We want people to be sheltering inside while the storm is approaching and during the storm,” Staarmann says. “Send us photos after the storm is passing.”
Staarmann says that it is important to include the location of the damage, including a street name if possible, along with the time that the storm came through.


More from News 12
2:20
Activists hold rally in opposition to NJ Turnpike expansion project in Hudson County

Activists hold rally in opposition to NJ Turnpike expansion project in Hudson County

2:14
STORM WATCH: Rainy weather expected to impact Wednesday evening commute

STORM WATCH: Rainy weather expected to impact Wednesday evening commute

3:17
Lead prosecutor in Robert Durst murder trial vacationed at Hamptons home of killer’s widow

Lead prosecutor in Robert Durst murder trial vacationed at Hamptons home of killer’s widow

3:14
Jersey Shore leaders discuss ways to keep communities safe this summer

Jersey Shore leaders discuss ways to keep communities safe this summer

0:33
Prosecutor: Englewood man accused of sexually assaulting child

Prosecutor: Englewood man accused of sexually assaulting child

0:20
Police identify person killed in motorcycle crash in Franklin Township

Police identify person killed in motorcycle crash in Franklin Township

0:57
Jersey Proud: Monmouth University radio station WMCX celebrates 50 years

Jersey Proud: Monmouth University radio station WMCX celebrates 50 years

2:59
Menendez trial: ‘Missing’ juror causes delay; prosecution focuses on relationship with co-defendants

Menendez trial: ‘Missing’ juror causes delay; prosecution focuses on relationship with co-defendants

0:57
Officials: Cedar Knolls woman charged with animal cruelty for emaciated dog

Officials: Cedar Knolls woman charged with animal cruelty for emaciated dog

0:51
Report: 1 in 5 New Jersey nursing homes don’t meet federal staffing standards

Report: 1 in 5 New Jersey nursing homes don’t meet federal staffing standards

New Jersey and wind farm developer Orsted settle claims for $125M over scrapped offshore projects

New Jersey and wind farm developer Orsted settle claims for $125M over scrapped offshore projects

0:46
Bruce Springsteen postpones several European shows due to vocal issues

Bruce Springsteen postpones several European shows due to vocal issues

10:51
Gov. Murphy answers viewers questions on ‘Ask Gov. Murphy’ program - May 28, 2024

Gov. Murphy answers viewers questions on ‘Ask Gov. Murphy’ program - May 28, 2024

0:14
Fire chief: No injuries in Plainfield house fire

Fire chief: No injuries in Plainfield house fire

1:25
Friday's preholiday travel breaks the record for the most airline travelers screened at US airports

Friday's preholiday travel breaks the record for the most airline travelers screened at US airports

0:52
Tips to stay healthy while traveling this summer

Tips to stay healthy while traveling this summer

0:22
Police: Missing Neptune Township teen found safe

Police: Missing Neptune Township teen found safe

1:12
Best of New Jersey: Grabbing a bite at Labebe Prime in North Brunswick Township

Best of New Jersey: Grabbing a bite at Labebe Prime in North Brunswick Township

0:22
Police: 19-year-old killed in crash on Route 30 in Atlantic City

Police: 19-year-old killed in crash on Route 30 in Atlantic City

Is your dad awesome? New Jersey tell us why your dad rocks!

Is your dad awesome? New Jersey tell us why your dad rocks!