Weather Central has just launched a new beta community site called ReportStorms.com that let’s you report storms in your area. This is an interesting approach to social networking with weather on a micro-local scale. The site, built with Microsoft Virtual Earth and a Silverlight interface, allows you to view in climate weather around the world but even better it allows you to report weather happenings wherever you are. You can register for free and login to report conditions anywhere you can click on a Virtual Earth map….which is anywhere in the world.
The site is very straightforward. If you see an icon on the map, you can click it to see what the event is in that respective location. There’s a helpful navigation bar with symbology hidden in the “View Storm Reports” tab. Clicking any of the symbols will filter the map turning off (or on) any of the weather types – Tornado, Wind, Ice Accumulation, Storm Accumulation, Fire, Hail, Flooding, Rain Accumulation, Precipitation Change, Cluster of Events (sounds exciting!) or Other. I’m sure “Other” is reserved for the San Diego weather person to say, “70 degrees and perfect,” so they feel like they can contribute to the community. Kidding – it’s all sour grapes.
Additionally, you can narrow your weather search by filtering on the date. This means you can see whether alerts that are happening today or go back and see the history of weather for any given day. What was the weather like in Seattle today? I wouldn’t know since I was in the office from 7:30AM – 8PM and I don’t have windows. I could always check the site to see anything exciting happened. That’s just depressing – dark on the way to work, dark on the way home. Love Seattle, though.
To report an event, go to ReportStorms.com and simply right click anywhere on the map, then click the “Report Event” button the pops up. Enter the date, the time and the type of event (as listed above). Now, depending on the type of event you select you could provide some additional information such as with Wind – is it windy enough to knock down some branches or are we seeing building damage; or, Hail – is it the size of a pea, penny, quarter, ping pong ball all the way up to softball (4.50 inches)….good lord! Where does that happen? Where do you head for cover?!? Additionally, you can upload a picture or video with your report (top photos and videos are also browse-able in the navigation). Click submit and your event is instantly planted onto the site for the world to see.
The site is built in a social aspect, so with your profile you can fill in your location information, upload an avatar, discuss weather in their forums, generally share weather information with people or just talk weather. Here’s a great introduction to meet someone on this site, “So, how’s the weather?”