WIWX 8.4 - Send Us your Storm Reports!!
By Justin Poublon
November 8, 2019 - 10:39 AM CST | 302 0
It's been 11 days since the last website upgrade. In that stretch of time I focused on developing, implementing, and testing our new storm report tool. We will put a greater emphasis on the storm reporting experience going forward.
Why storm reports?
In the mainstream weather world of Wisconsin, the National Weather Service ingests storm reports for consideration in it's Warning & Advisory process. Often via programs like SKYWARN or COCORAHS. We know NWS Warnings & Advisories are slow and unreliable. The information gets to you through a filter, second hand; TV, social media, radio, us, whoever. I have a hard time taking their "word for it". The solution might be to see severe weather report information first hand. You deserve better. Let's bypass the filtered mess. Let's do this right.
The biggest problem is that storm reports are not always forwarded to us until after the warning or advisory is issued. They come after the NWS fluff. That's unacceptable. Storm reports are concrete eye witness reports from the storm. We want to see these reports valued and prioritized. This includes the SKYWARN community reports. Storm chasers, weather enthusiasts, or anybody who want's to share or explore the idea. If you want to share how much snow you got from the last storm, go for it!
GOOD NEWS - I've built a new system to meet the demand. It operates just like reporting speed traps on google maps or other navigation apps. This is what's popular today. The environment has changed and people are becoming less interested in the traditional methods. It's time to evolve. I figured if you've come to wisconsinwx.com, if you're a member; you're obliviously interested in weather. Let's find a way to grow that interest, right!?
Anyway, let's get into the details...
Storm Report Tool - Interactive Chase Map
This new tool replaces the old interactive chase map. It has been optimized and improved.
How to Use it
Go to the Interactive Chase Map. On the bottom left corner, select your report type. Go through the reporting process. That's it!
How it Works
You send us a storm report. It's saved immediately to our system. Your report flows throughout the website and fed back out to other people in the community. IMMEDIATELY. This process is built to be as fast as possible from the moment you open up the website.
Cool vs. Warm Season
There are two groups of report types: cool and warm. Cool being Snow, Sleet, Freezing Rain. Warm = Hail, T-storm Wind, Tornado. etc. In the middle of winter you likely won't need the warm season types but they are always available if needed.
- Storm reports integrate directly into our information feed, displayed throughout the website, and occasionally social media in the form of maps/total posts. We WILL NOT forward to the National Weather Service, TV, radio, emergency people
- New Wall Cloud and Shelf Clouds report types, plus another surprise report type which we've continued and love dearly ;)
- You don't need to be a member to send a report. Built in ability to post anonymously, ability to save report afterwards if you wish to become a member.
- Location and time automatically transmitted (no need to manually enter it) as long as you've turned on your location and given permission to wisconsinwx.com to use your location.
- Original/legacy report tool will always be available if you prefer that and want to send images with your report (anonymous reporting not an option)
- Improved the whole reporting experience from sending the report to your profile page, the storm reports page, and the report viewer itself.
- Send test reports to make sure everything is working and you did it right!
- COMING SOON - Counts towards achievements, awards, discussion board cred, and recognition. For example; if you report five hail reports; on your fifth you will receive a badge that displays with your profile across the site. I have the system drawn up; need to fill it with great achievements. Will require artwork. It's almost like a video game but it's real life and the progression has real world impacts. This is super exciting!
- COMING SOON - significant report distribution list. When significant severe weather is reported, that info is immediately sent out. Members will be able to sign up for email/text notifications.
Here is a list of the other improvements made to the website in this upgrade...
- 24HR STORM REPORTS PAGE - members now get yellow lightning bolt by their report.
- Member Forecast has more emphasis on confidence level.
- Welcome and Email Post Update templates improved. It was time.
- Account page membership information panel now hides extra columns on mobile devices.
- Added white state outlines to the winter road conditions and current temp maps plus one other tweak.
- added lower Michigan regions to storm event creator/storm alerts system.
- Community feed will be getting more love in future updates.
NEXT UP - I'm working on several new projects that will launch in November. In no particular order; this list includes achievements for storm reporting, significant report distribution list, storm update feed/SMS, custom locations, home page redesign, and long range weekly forecasts. That's pretty much everything right now - not including the bug fixes and improvements that pop up along the way.
I want to change it up a little and might do some tutorials on how to use the website. I'm aware of temporary website slowness from time to time. We process so much information. I'm not willing to compromise so the solution is to upgrade RAM memory. Will wait until we've got a few more subscribers on board before we upgrade that.
That's all for today. Thanks for reading! Talk to you very soon!