12.4 Broadcast Meteorologist Use of Social Media in the 2018 Hazardous Weather Testbed Probabilistic Hazard Information Project

Thursday, 25 October 2018: 12:00 PM
Pinnacle room (Stoweflake Mountain Resort )
Caroline Kolakoski, Univ. of South Alabama, Mobile, AL; and K. Berry, H. Obermeier, A. Gerard, K. E. Klockow-McClain, A. Campbell, and T. C. Meyer

Broadcast Meteorologist Use of Social Media in the 2018 Hazardous Weather Testbed Probabilistic Hazard Information Project

Caroline Kolakoski1, Kodi L. Nemunaitis-Berry2, Holly Obermeier3, Alan Gerard4, Kimberly Klockow2, Adrian Campbell2, and Tiffany Meyer2

1University of South Alabama

2CIMMS/University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK

3CIRES/University of Colorado, Boulder, CO


Hazardous weather information is constantly being improved upon by NOAA to empower individuals as they decide how to respond during severe weather. The NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed (HWT) is a conceptual framework and physical space where researchers, National Weather Service forecasters, and users of hazardous weather information participate in experiments to improve hazardous weather information. This particular HWT experiment focuses on the use of probabilistic hazard information (PHI) to better communicate severe weather impacts. Since broadcast meteorologists are the main communicators of severe weather information to the public, it is important to study this group and assure that they can access, understand, use and transmit probabilistic information effectively. For three weeks, two broadcast meteorologists simulated television and social media coverage using PHI during past severe weather cases involving hail, wind, lightning and/or tornadoes. Coverage decisions included running crawls, posting to social media, and cutting into TV programming when necessary - all while using the new probabilistic information. This presentation explores how broadcast meteorologists’ social media use changed with the use of PHI. Researchers accessed real-world tweets from the displaced real-time cases simulated during the project, and used these tweets as a baseline to compare the tweets made during this experiment with PHI. The participants’ current social media pages were also researched in order to compare their typical social media coverage. This work will hopefully show how broadcasters use the PHI to their advantage in communicating severe weather risks using social media. Results and future work will be shared.

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner