World

Social media helps out as Sandy approaches

PTI Washington | Updated on November 17, 2017 Published on October 29, 2012

Locating the nearest emergency shelter or chatting live with forecasters — social networks were abuzz with the latest news, tips and reassurance as Americans hunkered down forurricane Sandy.

The massive storm, which has already killed at least 66 people in the Caribbean, is expected to pummel large swathes of the US East Coast, leading authorities to order evacuations and halt public transport in some areas.

On Twitter yesterday, #Sandy was one of the top trending topics in cities and areas on the predicted pathway of the storm as nervous residents looked for the latest news and posted links to useful Web sites on how to stay safe.

Google set up an interactive map that tracks the path of the storm, provides real-time precipitation figures in areas already hit by the outer edges of Sandy and locates the user’s nearest active emergency shelter.

The map also enables people to locate Web cams already set up in affected areas to watch as the storm unfolds, as well as videos posted on YouTube showing the situation in various locations, including images of choppy seas or flooding.

AccuWeather.com, the weather forecast Web site, set up a Google+ Hangout — a group video chat — inviting netizens to join and get their questions about the hurricane answered in real time by their meteorologists.

The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, took down their paywalls to enable people to get storm updates for free.

“Run riot! Read everything!”, one Twitter user joked, although the Wall Street Journal still had its paywall up for other stories not related to the storm.

One netizen on Twitter posted a link to the Web site of animal welfare group ASPCA, which told concerned pet owners how to prepare their animals for the upcoming storm. Smartphone users were also able to download applications to help them keep informed about the storm.

The American Red Cross, for instance, provided an app giving the latest storm information, a check-list of things to have stored in the house, and even a quiz on hurricanes to while away the hours.

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Published on October 29, 2012
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