NEW BRAUNFELS, TX (KXAN) - Meteorologists often rely on you for storm reports. With all their tools, what you see is still important to verify what they're seeing on their computers. Now, there's a new cell phone app to help do just that.
It's called the PING Project for precipitation identification near the ground. The idea is to report what you see. After downloading the app, you select the type of precipitation and submit your report. The app uses GPS for your location.
The weather information you send through the app goes to help verify data from the National Weather Service 's weather radars.
It's a crucial step since radars all over the country are getting an upgrade to dual-polarization.
"With the dual polarization, it's an upgrade to the program inside the radar," said Paul Yura, NWS warning coordination meteorologist. "What that'll do is give us a better idea of the shape, size and variety of what's actually falling out of the thunderstorm."
The Ping Project's ground observations compared to the radar displays will help scientists tweak the dual-polarization program and make the radar even better at distinguishing the difference between rain, snow and hail.
Better radar imagery could lead to better watches and warnings.
"We need weather events to practice to look to see how that's going to be improving our meteorology and our forecasting," said Yura. "Because of our ongoing drought we haven't had a whole lot of weather experiences yet with this new dual polarization. We're looking forward to a little bit of an active spring to be able to really fine tune our forecasting and be able to put out those better watches and warnings."
In addition to the Ping app, there are several helpful ways to report the weather you are seeing in your backyard:
- CoCoRaHS is a volunteer rainfall reporting network.
- You can email your storm reports and pictures to ReportIt@kxan.com or with one click on our KXAN app . We forward on storm reports to the National Weather Service.
- Another option is to become an official weather spotter for the National Weather Service. There are free Skywarn training sessions throughout the spring.
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