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      Forecast calls for social media

      By Sonya Stevenssstevens@abcnews4.com

      CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Social media continues to become more and more popular, in fact even the local National Weather Service has jumped onboard.

      "Facebook became more official National Weather Service wide" said Ron Morales, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Charleston. "We have been experimenting. We are one of the only offices with Twitter, so social media is relatively new for us here at the National Weather Service."

      The local weather service joined Twitter, because they saw it as a good opportunity. "We are trying to explore every avenue possible in the National Weather Service to get the word out for particularly hazardous weather like tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, flash floods, that sort of stuff," Morales said.

      Doug Ferguson, communications professor at the College of Charleston, agrees the social media move is a good one, since almost half of people have smart phones these days and are usually in contact with Facebook and Twitter frequently.

      "I think as long as people in the audience rely on trusted sources like television stations with local radar, with the national bureaus, and pay less attention to what their friends say, they'll be well served by social media," Ferguson said.

      The benefit to something like Twitter is that in a second one tweet can be sent and potentially reach thousands of people. When you are dealing with severe weather, time is of the essence.

      "I think it's going to improve reaching out to people. We have always had weather radios but most people put them away except during hurricane season, and even then they forget that they have a weather radio that can alert them to something. So, anything that does a good job of warning people that something is impending is a good thing," Ferguson said.

      Our goal here at ABC News 4 is to keep you up-to-date 24/7. You can follow us on Twitter at @WCIVWX, on Facebook at facebook.com/abcnews4, and we also have ABC News 4 weather apps.

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