The National Weather Service is experimenting with a system that will enable anyone with a Twitter account to submit weather reports from their cell phone or computer. The primary purpose is to collect “storm reports” or “significant weather reports”.
As long as the reports are formatted as prescribed by the NWS, the data, or the individual messages or “Tweets”, will be searchable and available to anyone who visits twitter.com or uses a 3rd party Twitter application on their computer (such as TweetDeck) or on their cell phone (such as TwitDroid, for Android-based smart phones).
To send a Twitter message or “Tweet” with a storm report or a significant weather report, it must be in this format:
#wxreport WW <your location> WW <your signifcant weather report>
The key is to use the searchable “hash tag” of “#wxreport”, then put “WW” both before and after your location, separated by a blank space. And after that goes your weather information.
The location can be an address, lat/long, airport identifier, city/state, or zip code.
If your cell phone has a GPS receiver and your 3rd party Twitter application has the ability to Geotag messages with your lat/long, then it’s even easier, but both your cell phone AND your Twitter account settings have to have geolocation enabled. Here is the format if your message is geotagged:
#wxreport <your signifcant weather report>
Anyone can go to twitter.com and search for #wxreport, even if you don’t have a twitter account.
According to the NWS:
Once an office decides that a posted report is reliable and applicable, it will be added to a Local Storm Report. LSR reports are available both via RSS feed and web pages directly from NWS web sites.
I found a web page for NWS Storm Reports, but even though there is a major winter storm affecting the central part of the United States today, the page contained no reports. Maybe I was looking in the wrong place.
More information about the system can be found HERE.