When Superstorm Sandy hit the U.S. Northeast, New Yorkers didn’t rely on meteorologists who put themselves in the worst of the storm, instead opting to follow the torrential winds, rains, and flooding on social media.
By using Twitter, meteorologists can instantly chime in with insight about a storm: The tool has already come in handy during winter storm Nemo.
Twitter hash tags let concerned storm watchers track the storm up-to-the-second with a simple click. There is no more waiting for the national news channels to get to the weather segment or for a website to refresh its coverage.
The easiest way to get local weather updates is to search one’s area on Twitter. “New York” and “Massachusetts” were trending throughout the day Friday, as New England residents prepared for the massive snow forecast to hit the Northeast.
Perhaps the most active, and trusted, Twitter account during the blizzard has been that of Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus), a weather correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. Holthaus was tweeting roughly 10 times every hour, updating his followers on the flooding and accuracy of the previously reported weather expectations. His tweets were relevant to people from Philadelphia to New York to Boston.
Also essential is the Weather Channel (@WeatherChannel), the same entity that branded this weekend’s blizzard Nemo. While it did not tweet as frequently as Holthaus in the early going, the Weather Channel did frequently retweet messages from other important accounts, providing a compilation of updates from people including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, as well as various travel organizations.
But there’s a lot more to a massive blizzard than snow -- all the people who are stuck at home need something to do. One Twitter account is certain to keep the homebound occupied, although anyone without power will be just plain out of luck.
Nemo has already provided a great excuse to camp out on the couch and have a Netflix (@Netflix) marathon. The DVD-by-mail company turned streaming service frequently tweets about new additions to its streaming library, a powerful advertising tool that’s even helpful to returning customers. The most discussed show on Netflix’s instant selection of late has been “House of Cards,” a dark political series starring Kevin Spacey as a corrupt politician.