Twitter and Facebook are to be utilised by the Florida Division of Emergency Management and the National Hurricane Centre to warn the public of impending storms. This year is the first year that the management centres have had their own pages on the social media sites, warning of storms approaching. Although the sites are popular as networking tools, the hurricane centre and emergency management division are hoping to be able to alert people about hurricanes.
The hurricane centre are hoping that instant tweets will give real time information about approaching storms. Social media is another tool to get information regarding hurricanes and storms out to the public. As a storm is tracked by forecasters, it is likely to be Dennis Feltgen of the hurricane centre who is responsible for posting the alerts on Facebook.
Hillsborough County has been using Facebook for three seasons to warn people of severe weather conditions and disasters. In March, when tornadoes were a threat to Tampa Bay and surrounding areas, over 2000 people looked for news on the county’s Facebook page. Until a storm looks likely, the social media sites are used to provide general information of how to prepare for a hurricane, and give updated forecasts. When the weather is calm the centre will provide a daily forecast without using technical jargon. As a storm approaches they will give advice and information, linking users back to the centre’s website.
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