Gone are the days when only a meteorologist could tell you the latest in breaking weather news. Today, regular people are often first on the scene and use their phones to record everything from the boring to the bizarre.

This year, many of those videos made local and national headlines. No one can forget the destructive tornadoes in North Dakota and Arkansas. A fast-moving avalanche in the Italian mountainside was caught on tape with voices in the background in awe of the power of mother nature. The world saw the fiery lava rocks of a volcano in Iceland, the gushing winds of Typhoon Glenda in the Philippines and perhaps most memorable, the record-breaking snowfall in Buffalo, New York.

So now, meteorologists appreciate that citizens have the footage in seconds, like Ginger Zee, Chief Meteorologist for ABC News. "They’re all journalists in themselves, and of course as long as people stay safe and are educated about the weather, I think it’s really something that we can use going forward," she said. "I think everybody should have their eye out there. And again when it’s safe, share that video and picture with the world."

Kimberly Brooks is an on-air host and correspondent with Fusion.