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New mobile app allows anyone to report weather data

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TWC News: New mobile app allows anyone to report weather data
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WILMINGTON -- Sunday marks the start of Severe Weather Week, and now you can do your part to help the National Weather Service record rain and snow totals.

It is as easy as turning on your smartphone, because there is an app for that.

Severe weather can strike at any time. The important thing is to be prepared. That is the message of Severe Weather Week. New Hanover County 911 Director Warren Lee said, "It's our opportunity to remind the public that we have weather hazards here, other than just hurricanes."

Weather experts say being proactive is what will keep you and your family safe. National Weather Service Meterologist Sandy Lacorte said, "Safety comes first. Make sure you have batteries that are fresh in your NOAA weather radio, and just stay aware."

It is a lesson Lee said is never too early to learn. "Trying to educate children about the effects of severe weather is very important and something we try to encourage everyone to do."

While Severe Weather Week has been around for years, something new is a mobile app that will help them gather weather conditions from the public. Lacorte explained, "It's a way for the public to report if they're experiencing hail or rain or mixed precipitation such as snow."

The app is the newest part of the PING project, a website that launched in 2006. Lacorte said, "It's the Precipitation Identification Near the Ground project, and it's run by the National Severe Storms Laboratory."

Experts say it is just one more tool to help them help you stay one step ahead of mother nature. "This data helps us for future events," Lacorte said. "Just being able to coincide that ground truth with what we are seeing on radar...We can get a bigger picture of the weather event."

Lee added when it comes to severe weather, being ready and informed is what matters the most. "It's that time of the year. Strange things can happen. So just be awake, be aware,” said Lee.

The Ping app is free to download. To find out more about it, click on the Story Links tab.

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