The National Weather Service warns that Twitter limits will slow the delivery of urgent weather alerts

The National Weather Service warns that Twitter limits will slow the delivery of urgent weather alerts

Julio Cortez/AP

Debris is scattered around homes damaged by the tornado, Sunday, March 26, 2023, in Rolling Fork, Mississippi.


Within 10 days, Twitter may begin limiting the number of automated tweets sent from Twitter accounts — a move meteorologists say will slow down their ability to issue severe weather alerts.

CNN had previously reported a reversal of the decision, which was based in part on… Tweet on Sunday From the National Weather Service’s Tsunami Warning Center.

An NWS official told CNN in an email after this article was first published that the Tsunami Warning Center’s tweet that mentioned restoring automation access was indicative of a different issue with Twitter. There appears to be no reversal of the decision to limit such automated tweets.

The official said late Tuesday that Twitter informed the NWS that it had no plans for exceptions to the new rules that would limit the number of tweets that can be sent from automated accounts that don’t pay more — a change that would have a significant impact on the NWS, which Uses automated tweets To send critical weather alerts.

CNN contacted Twitter on Tuesday and received an automated response containing a poop emoji, a response that owner Elon Musk announced last month would be the standard response to journalistic inquiries.

Many Weather Service offices turned to Twitter after the company announced in February that it would limit the number of tweets that could be sent from automated accounts unless they paid extra, in a move it said was intended to “increase quality, reduce spam, and enable a thriving ecosystem.” .

The Met Office’s Tsunami Alert account was one of several offices that tweeted about the decision, explaining the situation and urging people to make sure they have other ways to receive weather warnings.

Twitter said at the time that there would be no exceptions to its rule to limit the number of automated tweets. But there was confusion over the weekend when a Twitter account said the company had reversed course and would allow weather alerts to be tweeted without limits. T(w)itter Daily News, published Tweetis dedicated to Twitter news but is not officially affiliated with the company.

Twitter’s limit is 50 automated tweets in a 24-hour period, according to NOAA, which can easily be exceeded, especially during active weather.

“The reason we have automation is so people in the office don’t have to worry about issuing a repeated tornado warning, then going on Twitter, and then re-tweeting the same thing,” Darrell Herzman explained. Herzman is a systems analyst for Iowa Environmental Mesonet and helped create the automation software the NWS uses on Twitter.

The real-time nature of Twitter is attractive to users when receiving life-saving warnings on social media, compared to other platforms that may show a post days in advance, causing confusion during a weather event.

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

It’s important to make sure you have multiple ways to receive important weather information, including alerts that will wake you if you’re asleep.

The two best ways to receive weather information:

On your smartphone: Wireless emergency alerts are one of the best ways to receive tornado warnings anytime, anywhere. On your iOS device, go to Settings, then Notifications, and scroll down. Be sure to click on Emergency Alerts – listed under Government Alerts. If you use a third-party app, make sure you issue alerts in a timely manner. Most importantly, turn on these notifications.

NOAA Weather Radio: Although it may seem old-fashioned, a weather radio will provide you with updated information directly from the nearest National Weather Service forecast office.

• You can also download the FEMA app on your smartphone that allows you to receive real-time weather alerts, send notifications to your loved ones, locate emergency shelters in your area, and more.

This article has been updated based on new information from the National Weather Service.

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