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Forecasters run social media ‘tornado drill’

March 11, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Forecasters hope new social media practices can help further the reach of tornado warnings and keep more people out of harm’s way.

The National Weather has used Twitter and Facebook for years to disseminate weather warnings. But they tried a new approach recently, holding an online “tornado drill.”

The office posted tips for using the sites during severe weather and asked users to share the message, in order to measure the sites’ reach.

The Facebook post reached nearly 46,000 users within 15 minutes, the average warning time of a tornado.

Rick Smith is the warning coordination meteorologist for the weather service in Norman. He says the drill was meant to show the power — and limitations — of social media when it comes to weather information.

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