While Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc along the East Coast late in October 2012, the power of sending real-time weather information and photos on social media was apparent.
Sending out real-time weather information and pictures on breaking weather events helps to inform the public faster than ever before that there may be a weather danger. However, the quickness of information sharing can also lead to the spread of false information and fake photos.
"Social media offers unbeatable immediacy," AccuWeather Social Media Coordinator and Meteorologist Jesse Ferrell said. "Citizens worldwide can obtain critical, breaking weather information through mobile devices and transmit photos or videos of severe weather events on the Internet in real-time to platforms like Facebook."
On Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, AccuWeather's Expert Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity and Ferrell held a Google Hangout along with New York's WABC Meteorologist Amy Freeze to explain the severity of Sandy. The storm surge was only beginning in New Jersey and New York at the time of the Hangout, but the devastation of the storm was imminent.
Crucial warnings were sent out utilizing social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, while the East Coast was inundated at the height of Sandy on Monday, Oct. 29, 2013. Even as Sandy's powerful winds knocked out power to more than 2.4 million customers in New Jersey, Sandy victims were able to view important information on mobile devices and tablets.
According to Hootsuite, #Sandy trended on Twitter while millions of people were without power. Hootsuite said: "Social media tools are, in some cases, the only assist in connecting people and supplying information."
Government officials were among the millions on social media to warn citizens of the dangers that Superstorm Sandy posed.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie tweeted strongly worded warnings to people, cautioning them to stay away from beaches and to evacuate in mandatory areas.
Don't Be Stupid, Get Out. youtube.com/watch?v=5hpxj6...— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 28, 2012