The Weather Channel announced a partnership with Twitter today that will add a social, local element to its coverage of the elements.

Called The Weather Channel Social, users will be able to see real-time tweets about local weather displayed alongside forecasts on The Weather Channel’s website at, through The Weather Channel’s range of mobile apps, and in dedicated segments during live programming on its television broadcasts.

The practical side of handling the Twitter input, analysis and integration is being handled by Wiredset, using its Trendrr social curation and conversation analysis technology. The initiative uses 220 custom local Twitter feeds for cities with populations of 100,000 and above, which are data crunched to provide localized forecasts every three hours.

To nobody’s surprise, Twitter says that the weather is one of the most popular topics on the microblogging service. On an average day, U.S. users send approximately 200 weather-related Tweets per minute, which more than doubles when the weather is what The Weather Channel calls “active.”

There also is a serious information angle to this partnership. Tweeted pictures of the eerie sandstorms in Arizona provided some of the most dramatic and immediate reportage, for instance, as did citizen journalists capturing the May 22 tornado that claimed 160 lives and destroyed about 30 percent of Joplin, Missouri.

“Twitter gives voice and context to the topics people are most interested in, and everyone is interested in the weather,” said Chloe Sladden, Twitter’s director of content and programming. “By surfacing these conversations and providing human context around factual weather information, The Weather Channel Social brings weather alive.”

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Photo by flickr user Ell Brown, used under Creative Commons license