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Blacksburg SKYWARN uses two Twitter accounts to to distribute messages spotters may be interested in. These accounts are not used to receive reports and are not used to send time-critical weather information such as severe storm warnings. The two users are WX4RNK and WX4RNKAlerts. Their use is described below.  You can see the updates even if you don't have a Twitter account yourself.  You will need a Twitter account if you want to have messages forwarded to your cell phone as text messages.


General messages about SKYWARN operations. It is suggested you follow this user with an RSS reader.

Please be sure you also follow wx4rnkalerts for important operational announcements.

  • Public Timeline - View updates here.
  • Daily Hazardous Weather Outlook (HWO) from RNK when issued with a Spotter Activation Statement.
  • Day-1 Convective Outlooks if RNK CWA is included.
  • Posting of MDs for the RNK CWA.
  • SVR Watches for RNK CWA (may be sent to wx4rnkalerts as well).
  • Other watches for RNK CWA.
  • Notification of meetings, classes, web site updates, etc.
  • Not used to distribute warnings or accept any reports.


This is intended to be just the most important alerts -- things many users will want to forward to their cell phones as text messages.
  • Public Timeline - View updates here.
  • Net activation notices.
  • Repeater changes during the net.
  • Possibly links to watches issued for the CWA. (We'll determine if these belong here or with wx4rnk).
  • Not used to distribute warnings or accept any reports.


#WX4RNK is a hash tag. It is something you can put in your messages to allow others to search for messages related to Blacksburg SKYWARN. We are not making any official use of this yet, but here's the link for the search.


Twitter is a microblogging service. Users post tweets (messages of 140 characters) which others can read by accessing their public timeline (if they have not protected their updates) or or signing up for Twitter and following them.

You can access Twitter with a web browser. The public timeline URLs above will display the messages posted by each of the users. Besides directly browsing the users' timelines, you can subscribe to RSS feeds for them and only view new items when they are posted. Most browsers support reading RSS feeds and there are many stand-alone applications available. Brief is a particularly nice plugin for reading RSS feeds with Firefox.

If you create your own Twitter account, you can follow the users you wish and read all their updates on your home page. If you add your cell phone on the Devices page, you can also forward updates from selected users to your cell phone as text messages. This is called device following and you may wish to do this for WX4RNKAlerts.

There are a large number of applications you can use to read and update Twitter. See the Twitter site for more info.