Thursday, 11 December 2014

When extreme weather events happen, organisations like government agencies, emergency services and charities use Twitter as a way to share critical information with those who need it, in real time.

In the last 3 days there have been more than 30,000 Tweets about the storm system #WeatherBomb as it hits the UK. The phrase has trended on Twitter in 22 locations across the UK, and people have come to the platform to share information about the towns and villages affected by the extreme weather.

Organisations such as the Met Office (@MetOffice), the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (@ScottishEPA), and RNLI (@RNLI) have been using Twitter to share live information and advice for residents who may be affected by the severe conditions.

Anna Slingo, Social Media Manager at the Met Office said: “Twitter has become an important way for us to share information and advice with our followers, especially in severe conditions such as we are seeing this week.

“Our best advice to anyone affected is to watch out for weather warning information from our main @metoffice account and our automated account, @metofficeUK. We’ll use those accounts to share live information and advice the moment it becomes available.

“Along with other organisations, we are also using the hashtag #WeatherAware to share information about the storms. Following that hashtag on Twitter is a great way to keep abreast of the latest news and updates to keep yourself safe this winter.”

Ross MacLeod, Coastal Safety Manager at Royal National Lifeboat Institution (@RNLI), also highlights the importance of using Twitter as a way of raising awareness during extreme weather conditions: ”We support anything that raises awareness of dangerous coastal conditions. We’re pushing prevention to the front of what the RNLI does as UK coastal fatalities remain consistently high, so we need to keep our approach fresh and innovative.

“We can react to events happening in real time – like this storm – and use channels like Twitter to get our safety messages out to a wide audience exactly when it’s most relevant. We also use our #RespectTheWater to flag these messages.”

As well as a forum for sharing information and advice, users across the UK have also been using Twitter to share iconic images of the weather conditions. In this collection you can see a selection of some of the most dramatic shots from recent days:

Twitter Alerts

Across the UK there are more than 100 organisations using Twitter Alerts, a service which gives them the ability to highlight critical information to their Twitter followers by marking Tweets as alerts.

Alerts are displayed with an orange bell for added visibility, and users who sign up for an account’s Twitter Alerts can receive a notification directly to their phone via SMS. Those using Twitter for iPhone or Twitter for Android will also receive a push notification direct to their mobile.


To subscribe to these notifications, head directly to an account’s alert setup page at twitter.com/[username]/alerts. See the Met Office’s page at twitter.com/metoffice/alerts for an example and check out the full list of participating organisations here.