I recently received several e-mails in response to my solicitation for ideas as to what you'd like to see (more of, less of or the same) on the blog this year...
The most popular request was actually something that I've been working on for the last few months: incorporating video into more of the posts (meaning video of weather data and/or other blog elements - as I already embed tornado and storm damage videos, etc., when available).
I pointed out that I've been working on doing this for a few months because of the fact that I thought it would be relatively simple to get done. I was very surprised to learn that it is not as simple as I thought. Sure, I could have put some fuzzy, grainy, jumpy video on the blog anytime I got ready to, but I was looking for a higher quality product. Most of the computer generated graphics that I use are high resolution, and I quickly found that they simply didn't look good on many of the widely available platforms.
Anyway, to make a long story short, after trying numerous video capturing and editing software platforms over the past few months, I've finally settled on one that gets close to the quality that I've been looking for and at a reasonable price. Now I'm just getting use to the mechanics of using the software. You should start seeing some video posts in the near future - and this will certainly be in full swing by the time that the spring severe weather season rolls around.
Speaking of the spring severe weather season... I've recently been doing some major reevaluation of some of the more "conventional" severe weather safety tips, particularly regarding how and where you should seek shelter during a tornado. The events in the Deep South and in Joplin in 2011 played a major role in this idea. Watch for a detailed post on "revised" tornado safety and sheltering techniques prior to the kick-off of the 2012 severe weather season.
I will also be utilizing twitter and facebook a lot more in 2012. In addition to posting links to all regular blog posts, I plan to use both facebook and twitter for "live blogging". Sometimes it's easier to get information out faster by tweeting or posting an update on facebook than it is to write and publish a full blog post, particularly during rapidly changing severe weather situations.
When live blogging, I'll be using software that will simultaneously post identical updates on both twitter and facebook. If you're on twitter, my handle is @svrwxtweets if you'd like to follow me there. If facebook is more your style, please go here and "like" my facebook page - or feel free to follow me on both, I'd appreciate it!
I have already updated the "Blog Status" box on the upper right corner of the blog homepage so that you'll know when to check twitter and facebook for live blogging updates.
I also plan to continue developing the newly launched Original Weather Blog for Kids. The goal of that blog is to inform, educate and entertain our younger weather fans. If we can help take away some of the fear of severe weather in the process, that would be awesome as well!
There are also some other "surprises" coming up for 2012 that I can't get into just yet - because the plans are not final. Stay tuned for details!
As always, your suggestions and comments are welcome at anytime. Please feel free to post a comment or send me an e-mail. Thanks again for reading in 2011, and I hope that I can help you deal with whatever the weather has instore for us this new year!