GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — NOAA and the University of Oklahoma are collecting public weather reports through a free app for smartphones called mPING (Meteorological Phenomena Identification Near the Ground).

Once you feel or see precipitation beginning to fall, open up the app, select what precipitation is occurring, and click submit. It’s that simple to help the weather community.

“It’s nice to have an extra set of eyes in the field, and this app and the observations that come in can be really beneficial to meteorologists,” said WNCT chief meteorologist Jerry Jackson.

The reports are anonymous and displayed on a map accessible to anyone. Providing this information allows the National Weather Service to fine-tune their forecasts. Since radars cannot “see” at ground level, scientists will compare your field reports to radar detections in order to improve and develop new forecasting technologies.

Jackson believes it is important to note the difference between the Storm Team 9 app and mPING.

“Our app is focused on forecasting, letting you know what the weather is going to be like in the future,” Jackson said. “This particular app from NOAA is more interested in current observations. So two completely different things, but equally important sources of information.”

The mPING app will allow you to help the weather community in a new, hands-on way, as well as aid in the future studies of meteorology. Download the StormTeam9 weather app to keep updated on the latest forecast and don’t forget to submit a report to mPING if you see any precipitation falling from the sky.