Twitter accounts for storm, relief updates

Story highlights

  • Many Twitter accounts offer real-time updates about Hurricane Sandy
  • Feeds provide info about evacuations, highway closures, shelters and canceled flights
  • In the event of a power outage, cell phones could provide crucial news updates

As Hurricane Sandy converges with other storms and threatens to wreak havoc on the mid-Atlantic coast, power outages could make it difficult for residents to get up-to-date information.

But mobile phones can provide crucial updates as long as their batteries hold out. (If you live in the storm's path and it's not too late, this might be a good time to invest in a wireless phone charger.)

News apps and mobile sites are helpful, but for real-time streaming updates, it's hard to beat Twitter. With that in mind, here's a roundup of Twitter accounts offering real-time information about evacuations, mass transit, flooding, power outages and emergency-relief efforts.

6 mobile apps for tracking a hurricane

For weather forecasts

The National Weather Service is tweeting out forecasts and analyses hourly from its National Hurricane Center account.

See timelapse of Sandy from space
See timelapse of Sandy from space


    See timelapse of Sandy from space


See timelapse of Sandy from space 01:02
Fugate: People need to be safe
Fugate: People need to be safe


    Fugate: People need to be safe


Fugate: People need to be safe 02:00
Sandy approaching northeast U.S.
Sandy approaching northeast U.S.


    Sandy approaching northeast U.S.


Sandy approaching northeast U.S. 02:02

For more frequent updates, the Weather Channel is tweeting every few minutes on its Hurricane Central account, which posts everything from recorded wind speeds ("La Guardia airport in #NYC just reported a gust to 58 mph") to photos of surf pounding the coastline. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the folks at NASA have been tweeting satellite images of the storm's massive spiral along with flooding forecasts and other information.

CNN's meteorologists are posting frequent updates to the CNN Weather Center account, which also appears on CNN's interactive Hurricane Tracker page. One of them, CNN's Rob Marciano, has been tweeting updates from the storm-lashed beaches of Asbury Park, New Jersey.

For evacuation orders and safety info

The emergency-preparedness experts at FEMA are posting updates about local shelters along with safety reminders ("Now that you've prepared for #Sandy, the next step is to check on your neighbors- make sure they're ready too. We're in it together.") The American Red Cross also is posting lists of shelters, blood drives and other info.

All the governors of the affected states are on Twitter with regular updates about evacuation plans, highway closures and emergency hotlines. Among the most active are Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania, Chris Christie of New Jersey (who, in typically blunt fashion, tweeted "Don't Be Stupid, Get Out"), Andrew Cuomo of New York, Jack Markell of Delaware, Dan Malloy of Connecticut and Martin O'Malley of Maryland.

Also, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office has been tweeting frequently about closures of the city's parks, tunnels, subways and related services.

For transportation updates

Amtrak is posting regular updates about limited or canceled Northeast Corridor train service. So are local transit services, such as New Jersey Transit (which suspended all service Monday), and Greyhound, the bus line.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the New York City area's three major airports, also has an active and helpful account.

For air travelers, there does not appear to be a Twitter account that aggregates the status of flights across multiple airlines. But all the major airlines are tweeting updates about delayed or canceled flights.

Hurricane safety: When the lights go out

      Hurricane Sandy

    • The storm that broke records, and hearts

      A mother learns that her newborn is part of a hospital evacuation. Facebook posts from a member of the HMS Bounty turn ominous. A man worries about the wind and rain, but another force of nature hits home.
    • In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, a storm that ripped so much apart, people have come together to provide help and hope.

      In Sandy's wake, help comes in unexpected ways

      Tourists become volunteer rescue workers. The connected provide power outlets and Wi-Fi. Performers lift spirits. Photographers preserve images. Doctors work overtime to keep hospitals running and patients alive.
    • Despite a mangled phone screen, volunteer Candice Osborne is able to quickly respond to the needs of Superstorm Sandy victims with the help of social media.

      Social media make helping personal

      It has been in operation only since October 30, but the Facebook page for "Giving back to those affected by Sandy" has a longer timeline than most Facebook members.
    • Steph Goralnick

      Let's not forget Superstorm Sandy's victims

      It's important to remember that even as the effect of Superstorm Sandy recedes from the news, there are still devastated areas that are without electricity, heat or hot water.
    • Americares volunteers help clean out flood damaged homes in Queens, New York during Operation "Muck-Out"

      Volunteers help Sandy victims start over

      Our AmeriCares "Operation Muck-Out" team immediately got to work, ripping out the interior walls and removing the insulation until only wooden beams were standing.
    • exp point harlow murray sandy_00013211

      Trying to keep the family business afloat

      Ashley Murray became the first female president of Liberty Industrial Gases and Welding Supplies Inc. in Brooklyn. But now the family history Murray was charged with preserving is at risk of ending after Superstorm Sandy.
    • Jeannette Van Houten and other residents of Union Beach, New Jersey, have found family photos such as this one scattered after Superstorms Sandy. They want to return them to their rightful owners.

      Finding joy among the wreckage

      The adage says "a picture is worth a thousand words," but when Leeann Lewandowski happened upon a photograph of her late mother on Facebook after her home was destroyed in Superstorm Sandy, she was speechless.