The high winds, heavy rain, and storm surges are dying down along the East Coast today. We have yet to account for the total damage done by Hurricane Sandy, and many areas of New York City are still flooded. Facing this devastation, it appears that local emergency managers and the National Weather Service made widespread use of the Commercial Mobile Alert Service (CMAS, also known as Wireless Emergency Alerts, or WEA).
Not surprisingly, the most Twitter chatter about CMAS has centered on the areas hardest hit by the storm, including New York, which used a CMAS message to issue an evacuation order of Zone A (those areas closest to water):
The East Coast of the U.S. will be experiencing a late-season hurricane this week, due to mix with a cold air mass to form what some have termed a “Frankenstorm“. As people are battening down the hatches and preparing for the worst from Hurricane Sandy, we thought it appropriate to provide a couple of quick resources you can use to monitor the storm’s path and impact. Aside from the major news outlets and of course the National Weather Service, these offer aggregated information and real-time updates sourced from across the areas affected by the storm.
Google Crisis Map
Google.org has posted a crisis map of Hurricane Sandy that allows you to view multiple types of data overlaid on a map of the storm’s trajectory. Options include:
- Weather radar
- Up-to-date warnings and advisories across the eastern U.S.
- Hurricane evacuation routes
- Webcams and YouTube videos
- Active emergency shelters
Twitter conversations about the hurricane appear are primarily using the hashtag #Sandy. However, as you will probably see if you watch traffic on that hashtag, it captures both authoritative posts as well as more trivial ones (such as celebrities’ posts about the hurricane). You can find more informative tweets with the general #wx tag, or by using your local weather hashtag–your state’s 2-letter abbreviation + “wx” (e.g., #PAwx for Pennsylvania weather).
As we continue to prepare for this storm, tell us what resources you will be using to track Sandy. Comment below or tweet to us at @AWAREforum.
Recently, a band of severe storms made its way from the Midwest to the East Coast, leading the National Weather Service (NWS) to issue a tornado warning to parts of Maryland. Nearly five minutes after NWS issued their warning, the University of Maryland (UMD) campus alert system issued a tornado warning message to its subscriber base. This delay is the subject of a recent article published by UMD’s student-run newspaper, The Diamondback. The article, a first-hand account from the author, highlights the importance of receiving timely alerts and warnings. In this case, the author received the alert message from various applications on his phone before he received the campus alert message. Sometimes having more than one “tool in the toolbox” helps the public get the information they need in a timely fashion. Continue reading »