Oklahoma forecasters use social media to inform followers

The National Weather Service in Norman created Facebook and Twitter accounts last year to help engage Oklahoma weather fanatics and provide timely information. Forecasters talk about how social media has helped the way they report weather.
by Tiffany Gibson Published: May 13, 2012

“I think Twitter will be expanding to all National Weather stations.”

Reporting the storm

Social media has become a way to monitor what people are talking about in their communities, including the weather.

Rusty McCranie, meteorologist at KOCO-5, said he has noticed the shift to social media in the past few years.

“We are much more interconnected than we were three years ago,” he said.

McCranie said that during broadcasts social media is monitored for information from the public and the National Weather Service.

“I think obviously social media have come to the forefront. It's the most timely way to get severe weather information,” he said. “There are a lot of times now we're in a tornado situation and we're knee deep in it, but one of us is still trying to send out a tweet. We feel as a station it's just as important.”

Mobile benefits

Gary McManus, associate state climatologist with the Oklahoma Climatological Survey and Oklahoma Mesonet, said social media has made it easier for people to receive information on-the-go.

“More and more people have smartphones,” he said. “We feel like this gives us the broadest range.”

Right now the Climatological Survey and Mesonet are active on Facebook and are building an audience for daily updates on statewide weather conditions.

He will continue to explore other social networking sites to find the best way to display information.

“We wouldn't of thought 10 years ago we would be posting on something called Facebook,” McManus said.


by Tiffany Gibson
News Online Editor
Tiffany Gibson has worked for the Oklahoman since August 2011 and is a member of the digital news team. In addition to writing and web editing, she also creates multimedia features for the website and maintains social media accounts. A Tennessee...
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