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.
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.