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.