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Focus on 'Frankenstorm' - Social media connecting residents, officials as Hurricane Sandy approaches

Wire • Oct 28, 2012 at 3:38 PM

While Hurricane Sandy spins toward the coast, many have taken to social media to comment or keep updated about the storm.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate tweeted to "Keep your mobile device charged," on Sunday. Many other government agencies and officials are similarly using social media to recommend apps and encourage users to keep phone lines free by posting frequently instead.

Hashtags to follow the storm are #Sandy and #Frankenstorm on Twitter, and various apps are available for traffic and weather updates.

Some of the apps for iOS include Hurricane HD and Hurricane Tracker. Both have maps for tracking the hurricane. A mutual device app is the Hurricane by American Red Cross, which allows users to simultaneously update their Twitter, Facebook, email and text contacts through an "I'm Safe" message blast.

INRIX is highly recommended for traffic updates, by online tech writers, and is useful for both iOS and Android users.

Regional government agencies can also be followed on social media as many of the updates that are sent to news organizations are also posted on their sites. In addition, many of the police and fire departments, as well as city governments, have Twitter and Facebook accounts.

The National Hurricane Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and FEMA also make use of social media outlets. Many of their directors and administrators have separate accounts and provide helpful tips.

In the event the hurricane knocks down a cell tower, WiFi enabled devices may still worked if the cable is not out. Other useful apps include those that provide flashlights, survival tips, and checklists for emergency preparedness.

Some Tweeters are also creating accounts related to hurricanes or Sandy specifically. Tweets include asking the younger audience if they want school to be closed to reply tweet, or making light of the situation in other ways.

"As we've added services like texting, and as more and more customers use mobile devices, we're ensuring more effective ways of communicating and sharing updates," said Jeff Alexander, spokesperson for Comcast Cable.


By Anjalee Khemlani - The Press of Atlantic City, Pleasantville, N.J. (MCT)

(c)2012 The Press of Atlantic City (Pleasantville, N.J.)

Visit The Press of Atlantic City (Pleasantville, N.J.) at www.pressofatlanticcity.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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