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NOAA, FEMA Twitter feeds can help navigate Frankenstorm

Most public-sector employees in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeasternm states are likely going to be at home for a few days with the government closed and Hurricane Sandy bearing down like a 900-mile wide missile getting ready to strike. As I write this blog, the first insidious bands have already started to snake their way into the D.C. area, and the worst is yet to come. If you have a smart phone or Twitter device, there are ways you can get information to help you get through the seemingly massive weather coming our way.

In previous storms like 2010’s “Snowmageddon”( all the really bad ones get funny names; this one, of course, goes by Frankenstorm), I learned that cutting-edge technology can sometimes fail at the worst possible times, which means falling back on the least common denominator to keep yourself safe and informed. I even wrote a book about how that exact thing happening on a massive scale during Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

While I would always recommend an emergency radio and plenty of fresh batteries, Twitter is becoming a great source of news too for folks hunkered down and trying to get information. So long as you have remembered to charge up your smart phone, there are lots of helpful Twitter feeds you can get, even without power. For Frankenstorm in particular, NOAA’s National Hurricane Center is pumping out the latest news, minute by minute. A quick glance shows that Advisory 29A has just been issued, stating that the storm is turning faster and harder than originally expected, and zooming towards landfall in Southern New Jersey.

The FEMA twitter feed is also on fire today, with posts coming every few minutes. They have very helpful advice on how to avoid things like carbon monoxide poisoning when using a portable generator. It’s required reading for smart survivors.

And the governors of the various states that are affected by the storm are also tweeting helpful advice, depending on the official. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie just sent: “Don’t be Stupid. Get out.” But there is also a lot of other information like what bridges and tunnels are closed for those trying to follow his blunt advice.

CNN has a pretty detailed list of helpful Twitter feeds that are covering the storm. A lot of them are filled with striking pictures and non-mission critical feeds, and several are outside of Twitter, but their list also has many of the best ones to use.

I think with Twitter being so helpful, that including a device capable of getting the feeds, plus extra batteries, is a good addition to any survival kit. And unlike a radio, it also lets you communicate back to the outside world, letting everyone know your plight if you so choose.

I’ll try to tweet what’s happening locally to our GCN Lab Guys feed in case you want to see how we are handling this one. Above all else, stay calm. We’ll all get through this together.

Posted by John Breeden II on Oct 29, 2012 at 9:39 AM


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