The Severe Weather Information Centre (SWIC) of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is enhanced today (June 29) with the launch of a new service known as SWIdget. With this new SWIdget service, local as well as international users can now obtain severe weather warnings issued by participating official weather services in near real-time. This new service aims to help users raise their awareness of severe weather and to take suitable precautionary measures when necessary.
SWIdget is a software tool developed by the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) on behalf of WMO for accessing information from the SWIC platform. It allows users to select and display automatically in their personal computers weather warnings in different regions. At present, warnings of the three participating weather services, namely, Hong Kong, Macao, and Guam, the USA, are available in this beta version of SWIdget. Plans are in hand to invite more official weather services to participate and provide their local severe weather warnings to this new service.
SWIdget can be downloaded from the SWIC website at http://severe.worldweather.org/swidget/swidget.html. The installation guide and user guide can also be found on the webpage. After installing SWIdget, users can select the region/city/warning according to their preference. A dialogue box will pop up with an audio alarm on the user's personal computer when there is a change of warning status issued by the selected official weather services.
SWIC is a WMO website (http://severe.worldweather.wmo.int/) that integrates and enhances regional activities within an international framework to reduce loss of life and damages due to severe weather. The website provides tropical cyclone information originated from official weather services in different regions of the world. Apart from tropical cyclones, the website also provides official observation data around the world for severe weather such as heavy rain and thunderstorm. The HKO won the 2009 ESCAP (Economic and Social Commission for the Asia and the Pacific)/WMO Typhoon Committees Dr Roman L Kintanar Award for development and operation of the SWIC.
Download page of SWIdget
Samples of dialogue boxes showing latest status of selected local warnings in different regions