How to get the best information from social media before and during severe weather

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - When the sky has that gloom and you have that ominous feeling, it's natural to look toward different clouds for information.

But your social media feeds are only as useful as your knowledge of them.

Let's start with the most obvious -- Facebook.

You can get a ton of information from here, but it's best in the preparation stage.

An integrated video player makes it easy to get forecasts from places like our Facebook page, and of course, you can find links to web stories and live blogs that provide useful context.

This helps give the complete picture of the weather threat.

It helps you know what to prepare for and the likelihood that it happens.

However, if you're on your main feed, sometimes posts can populate that are hours old. That limits the usefulness when storms start happening in real time.

That's when you should be turning to Twitter.

Obviously, WHNT News 19 and our meteorologists push out information in real-time, but you can also use our hashtag, #valleywx.

That lets you see all posts from all users.

You can get real-time, on-the-ground intel, that helps you assess what's happening elsewhere.

But when it's time to take shelter, if you can still safely use your smart phone, you want use dedicated apps, like Live Alert 19.

Reason being, with our apps, you can stream what's happening on-air or watch radar for your exact location in real-time, invaluable tools in a severe weather situation.

Of course, while you can get warnings through a smartphone, nothing should replace the reliable standby of a weather radio with fresh batteries.