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A lifelong passion

An interest, a fascination, a passion - all words that are used in relation to the weather, it holds a spell over many of us. With the Met Office Weather Observation Website (WOW), anyone can share their weather experiences and observations, anywhere in the world. This year WOW has encouraged children to step into the world of weather - hopefully developing an interest that will become a lifelong passion.

Launched in 2011, the Weather Observations Website (WOW) has enabled weather enthusiasts all over the world to log and share their weather observations and photographs. Developed by the Met Office with support from the Royal Meteorological Society and the Department for Education, WOW provides an online hub for weather observations and weather enthusiasts in more than 170 countries.

Fun for kids

This year, there has been a strong focus on engaging with children through schools and families. A video explaining how children can take their own weather observations was a huge hit. It highlighted how children can be a part of the weather forecast, from their own back garden - create personalised observations and see the observations 'live' on WOW.

A partnership with BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogger community, involved a 'Twitter Party' to raise awareness amongst parents. Meanwhile there was also a competition with children entering via social media and our website for the chance to visit the Met Office and become a forecaster for the day.

Next is WOW Schools. This is an exciting pilot project where schools will set up their own weather station, build hands-on observing kit and submit their own weather observations and impact reports.

To support this, the Met Office outreach team has been preparing educational resources about how weather data is collected and used to create forecasts. WOW Schools will be piloted in ten primary schools selected through an open draw - keep an eye on the Met Office website for more details.

Impactful partnerships

International partnerships are in place with WOW having already been adopted by national meteorological services in Australia, Holland and New Zealand. Back in the UK, a partnership with the Environment Agency is focussing on weather impacts. This crowd sourcing project is specifically looking at reporting the impacts of weather via WOW and building up a repository of high-quality impact reports.

This focus on impacts can help verify the accuracy of our weather forecasts and associated warnings - from Flood and Coastal Risk Management, to the National Severe Weather Warning Service. "The partnership will pull in a range of observers and raise awareness of impact reporting. It can also reach civil contingencies in a really meaningful way," says Richard Orrell, Deputy Programme Manager - Public Weather Services.

Find out more and get involved at wow.metoffice.gov.uk

You can send your reports of weather impacts on your mobile by going to our mobile website www.metoffice.gov.uk/mobile and selecting 'Report severe weather'.