Owasso May Twitter About Twisters

Friday, April 24th 2009, 9:07 pm
By: News On 6

By Craig Day, The News On 6

OWASSO, OK -- With severe storm season here and bad weather possible this weekend, it's important to be informed.  One community may begin tweeting about twisters.  When storms rumble through the area, communities want to get information out as fast as possible.  Owasso is looking into whether using social media like Twitter can help.

A new way to keep people informed may just be a computer keyboard away.

"We're trying to explore different and new ways to communicate with our citizens," said Owasso Assistant City Manager Tim Rooney.

So, the City of Owasso is on Twitter, a free online social networking site.  The city uses is mostly to let people know about events and services, but is now experimenting with Twitter to let people know about severe weather.

"I think we want to use it in the best way possible, but yet, not overburden our citizens with messages that they might not find useful," said Owasso Assistant City Manager Tim Rooney.

So, that means the alerts would likely just be when there is a tornado watch or warning.

Mike Henry is one of the followers of the city's Twitter.  He likes the idea of getting tweets or messages about threatening weather.

"You can actually set that up to where it goes right through to your pager, and that's exactly the way I would love it, and that way I can get something on my cell phone telling me there is a storm on the way.  That would be great," said Mike Henry of Owasso.

So far, Owasso has only posted one severe weather alert for a recent tornado watch.  But, if it proves effective and useful in alerting residents of threatening weather, Twitter could be used more in the future as severe storm season gets into full swing.

"Twitter does that and has the ability to do so, quickly," said Owasso Assistant City Manager Tim Rooney.

The City of Tulsa is also looking into the most effective ways to use Twitter to inform people.  That includes the possibility of storm updates.