NWS: Don’t Only Rely on Twitter for Weather Information

Twitter will begin charging the National Weather Service and other public safety accounts $42,000 per month for Twitter API access.

NWS: Don’t Only Rely on Twitter for Weather Information

Image via Adobe, by adimas

Starting April 29, Twitter will no longer be a reliable source of National Weather Service (NWS) updates. The reason for the change is Twitter’s transition from its currently free API (application programming interface) service to a paid subscription model. The social media company will now start charging $42,000 per month to NWS and other public safety agencies for Enterprise access.

Mashable reports that Twitter’s new API policy will limit the NWS’ automated tweets to 50 per 24-hour period. The change means the agency won’t be able to determine which automated emergency alerts go through and which ones don’t get posted, making NWS Twitter accounts unreliable during weather emergencies.

According to a statement from the NWS to Mashable:

“Without this automated process, it would take minutes for forecasters to manually prepare warning information into a tweet. For every warning issued, seconds could make the difference between life and death.”

The NWS anticipates that the new API limits will go into effect April 29, but several of its API accounts were suspended on April 14.

Other weather services like Instant Weather in Canada will also be affected by the API change, as will earthquake-tracking accounts. Various public transportation accounts will also be prevented from sharing up-to-the-minute information on Twitter. Some of those accounts are urging the public to pressure Twitter to make exceptions on their behalf.

The NWS told Mashable that Twitter users should not rely solely on NWS Twitter accounts for up-to-date weather forecasts, watches, and warnings. The agency advises everyone to have several ways to receive weather forecasts, including weather.gov.

The NWS has used Twitter’s API service since 2014 to auto-post warnings for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and flash floods. Its feeds are followed by emergency managers, the general public, and the media for potentially life-saving information.

If you appreciated this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!

About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray

Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

Leading in Turbulent Times: Effective Campus Public Safety Leadership for the 21st Century

This new webcast will discuss how campus public safety leaders can effectively incorporate Clery Act, Title IX, customer service, “helicopter” parents, emergency notification, town-gown relationships, brand management, Greek Life, student recruitment, faculty, and more into their roles and develop the necessary skills to successfully lead their departments. Register today to attend this free webcast!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get Our Newsletters
Campus Safety HQ