NC-FIRST goes mobile


CHAPEL HILL, NC, March 10, 2009 – Emergency managers and first responders across North Carolina can now interpret weather data from their own pockets using the mobile version of  the Renaissance Computing Institute’s (RENCI) NC-FIRST Web portal.

The NC-FIRST made-for-mobile resource was launched this week at the annual spring conference of the North Carolina Emergency Managers Association at Sunset Beach, NC. Just like the NC-FIRST desktop version, the mobile resource will allow users to track late-breaking and targeted weather hazards in real time, and allow them to interpret weather data and coordinate response plans.

“The mobile version is a condensed edition of NC-FIRST that was created at the request of our users,” said Jessica Proud, RENCI meteorologist and NC-FIRST program manager. “It is designed for hand-held devices, like Blackberries and other smart phones, and includes the same features and technologies as our desktop version.”

Those features include radar tracking, weather warnings and watches from the National Weather Service, a text forecast, and information about weather hazards such as tropical storms and hurricanes, thunderstorms, and winter storms.

NC-FIRST includes two components: the weather data Web portal and classroom training on interpreting weather data. The Web portal pulls together a wide range of weather data into an easy-to-use Web environment. It includes desktop conferencing software that helps decipher weather data, understand weather threats and choose actions that minimize threats to lives and property caused by extreme weather.

The NC-FIRST training course is a four-day program design to help first responders understand scientific weather data and is offered through 27 community colleges across the state.  The program is taught by meteorologists and was recently incorporated into North Carolina’s emergency Management Certification Program.

The NC-FIRST mobile site is aimed at emergency managers with passwords for the site. For more on NC-FIRST, see

RENCI…Catalyst for Innovation

The Renaissance Computing Institute, a multi-institutional organization, brings together multidisciplinary experts and advanced technological capabilities to address pressing research issues and to find solutions to complex problems that affect the quality of life in North Carolina, our nation and the world. RENCI leverages its expertise and resources in leading edge computing, visualization, networking and data technologies to catalyze new collaborations and solve problems. Founded in 2004 as a major collaborative venture of Duke University, North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the state of North Carolina, RENCI is a statewide virtual organization.