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Sunday, June 28, 2009


Two things regarding new lists at the UF Listserv that the AC-EMWIN Project will be creating:

First: The currently existing ACEMWIN-HURR-L listgroup has been running for a while now. We've been sending the latest Gulf & Atlantic-related hurricane bulletins to it. At this time it is set up to receive all bulletins in the one list. SOON however, this will change, and we'll set up the list with a few "default" bulletins for people to receive when they first subscribe, and quite a NUMBER of OTHER hurricane-related bulletins that users can turn on or off at their OWN command.

Second: We'll soon be adding quite a NUMBER of new listgroups - one for every county in the North Central Florida area. Each group will receive bulletins for that county ONLY, and the user will be able to choose from a NUMBER of various weather related bulletins that they can turn on or off at their own will.

The counties will include:
Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafeyette, Levy, Marion, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, Suwannee, and Union.

Weather bulletins to choose from (in EACH LIST) will include:
Area Forecast Discussion, Coastal Waters Forecast, Hazardous Weather Outlook, Short Term Forecast, Surf Forecast, Zone Forecast Product, Special Weather Statements, Severe Weather Statements, Thunderstorm Watches/Warnings, Flood Watches/Warnings, Tornado Watches/Warnings, Red Flag Warnings, Local Storm Reports, etc., etc.

I think people will like this arrangement. As for the AC-SKYWARN Email Alert List, depending upon what users think, that list can either keep distributing the bulletins that it is, or we can cut it down to news and announcements regarding SKYWARN and AC-SKYWARN only, and let these new lists handle the bulletins task. We'll tackle that when we get there.

Let us know what you think of this new idea.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Added additional bulletins to Twitter feed...

Added the following bulletins to the Twitter feed:

AFDJAX - Area Forecast Discussion
FTMJAX - Free Text Message - Radar outages, weather radio transmitter outages, etc.
PNSJAX - Public Information Statement

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Local Storm Reports

Does anyone think LSRs (Local Storm Reports) would be useful in the AC-EMWIN Twitter feed? I CAN send those.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Found source for 1-minute refresh for Twitter...

Thanks to Charles Roop for this...

One of my worries over Twitter being useful as a weather bulletin dissemination tool was the fact that you don't see new bulletins unless you manually refresh the screen, which kinda forces you to sit there at the computer.

Thanks to Charles Roop for mentioning TweetDeck, which is an application you can use to see new posts by setting the application to refresh up to once every minute.

To download the application, go to http://tweetdeck.com.

(Thanks, Charles.)

AC-EMWIN Twitter Account Created

Created Twitter account for the Alachua County EMWIN Project. The hope is to be able to send severe weather-related bulletins to the AC-EMWIN Twitter acct so that people can make use of them there, too. Currently, we send bulletins to cellphones, pagers, and even web sites.

I've just set up the EMWIN software to send some bulletins there, now. I've set it up to receive the following "products": ZFPJAX (Zone Forecast Product), NOWJAX (Short Term Forecast or "NowCast"), DAY-ONE SEVERE and SPOTTER ACTIVATION statements from the HWOJAX (Hazardous Weather Outlook), SVRJAX, TORJAX, SPSJAX (Special Weather Statement), and SVSJAX. Bulletins will be sent using shorter abbreviated text to fit more on the screen at a time.

The DAYONE SEVERE statement is a line from the Hazardous Weather Outlook which gives spotters a heads-up as to what the day's expectations are for severe weather. The HWO gets sent out multiple times a day.

The SPOTTER ACTIVATION STATEMENT is another line from the HWO which let's spotters know whether or not spotter activation might be called for in your area. Again, being attached to the HWO, the notice is sent out multiple times a day, as thoughts change and are updated.

I sent a test message from Outlook last night. Twittermail received it okay. A few bulletins were sent by the EMWIN software, too, overnight. They were received, as well.

There is a 160 character text limit with Twitter. HOWEVER, the rest of the messages are not truncated and permanently lost. The rest of the message can still be viewed by simply clicking on a URL link right there. So that's a plus. Looks good so far. Seems to be working.

This IS an experiment, though. I'm doing it to test the usefullness of this idea. There ARE a few downsides so far that I am noticing:

1. Seems Twitter must be manually refreshed. Bulletins are time sensitive. To be useful viewers have to be able to see them as soon as they come in. I don't think Twitter has an auto-refresh on incoming bulletin. I think you have to do it yourself. Still researching...

2. There seems to be a delay of a number of minutes from time of issuance from our EMWIN software (which issues the bulletins often faster than the weather radio does). That could matter. Bulletins are distributed faster on the ACSKYWARN Email Alert List faster than they appear to be being issued, here. Then again, I may be being too critical. Ultimately, it's up to the end user and what HIS OR HER ideas are for the usefulness of this. Maybe they PREFER these kinds of things to email. Who knows.

Hopefully people will find some usefulness for this and if there appears to be enough interest then I will continue it. I'm already also entertaining ideas for doing this for all nearby counties surrounding us, as well.

I welcome user thoughts, comments, and ideas.

Alachua County EMWIN Project

Alachua County EMWIN Project
Free Weather Bulletins!