A TV weather channel in Japan has added staff "Guerilla Thunderstorm Girls" to its volunteer force of citizens who report weather conditions around the country.
A "guerilla storm" refers to a severe thunderstorm which occurs with little warning – and is hard for forecasters to predict – and which has the potential for heavy downpours, high winds and tornadoes.
Weathernews has utilized volunteers nationwide to monitor the weather and developing thunderstorms since 2008. The 50,000 "Guerilla Thunderstorm Guards" use the "Guerilla Thunderstorm Defender" smartphone app to report conditions and send images and video of cloud formations and rainfall to Weathernews, which displays the reports online and in broadcasts. Viewers can also register to receive special weather alert emails on their phones.
Weathernews is able to direct volunteers to storm areas up to 30-minutes in advance of possible guerilla downpours.
The channel has now introduced a special team of Guerilla Thunderstorm Girls – some of the weather report anchors – who are sent out to observe the clouds where there is a possibility of a guerrilla thunderstorm.
The team is outfitted with ponchos imprinted with the slogan "The World [sic] Largest Weather Geek Community."