So, I thought this was cool: yesterday I heard about “mPING” a new app released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The idea is to get people to use the app to record the exact precipitation that is occurring. Apparently radar is not very good at determining mixed precipitation very well – ice mixed with rain, drizzle and so on. With this app we amateur meteorologists can report what is happening on the ground right now and all the data goes realtime to a map. How cool is that?
There is a great article about the app on the Talking Points Memo website by Carl Franzen. If you think this kind of thing is as interesting and fun as I do, you should hop over to their site and read all the details. Here’s a quote from Kim Elmore, a PhD meteorologist from the article:
“If you’re working for a power company and all of the sudden you start to see reports of freezing drizzle that weren’t forecast, you might think, ‘OK, we’re not in trouble now, but we could be in the next few hours. Let’s get crews in place in case any power line get knocked down,’” Elmore explained. “If you’re a city manager, you can begin to get salt trucks and plows ready to go as soon as you see reports of snow or freezing drizzle. If you’re a forecaster and the reports disagree with your forecast, you can update it, so the uncertainty is minimized.”
If you want to hear the article that got me excited about this, here’s the link on NPR. I just downloaded the app – and almost immediately the sun came out! Well, I live in the Midwest, there will be precipitation of some kind or another shortly!