Social media an invaluable tool for weather, emergency updates

Editorial: There's been a lot written about the winter so far. Between the frigid cold, the snow and Monday's freezing rain, it seems that we have to be aware of the weather every other day.

Thankfully, professionals in the Hampton and Franklin County areas know that and do their best to keep us, the public, informed. Through social media and text messaging services, city and county entities provide updates letting the public know how much snow to expect, when snow ordinances are in effect and up-to-the-minute road conditions.

This service is invaluable in today's world of connectivity. We require the latest news at our fingertips at all time and social media is an easy, cost effective way to ensure that happens. Social media allows information to be shared and spread quickly and with smartphones a household commodity today, almost everyone can have access to posts.

Additionally, the City of Hampton is to be commended for its involvement with the Nixle program. By texting "50441" to 888-777, you can get notifications when city puts into effect and then lifts its snow ordinance. Thanks to forecasts looking ahead, the city doesn't have to wait until weather gets too bad to put the ordinance into effect. This allows both the city and motorists to get ahead of winter weather and know what to expect. The ability to know ahead of time that parking is not allowed on city streets prevents drivers from getting ticketed and allows the city crews the peace of mind to know they'll have an unimpeded path to clear snow as soon as possible.

Weather is a fickle thing to predict and it's not uncommon to get less snow when we're expecting a lot, or more snow on a day where clear skies were expected. We can't control the weather, but thanks to our law enforcement, emergency and government entities using technology to provide real-time weather reports, we can be prepared long before we hit the roads.