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Twitter Responds To Earthquake And Hurricane Irene

Submitted by on August 29, 2011 – 8:56 amNo Comment

New York City survived its first earthquake and first hurricane in decades less than a week apart, and social media was there to comment (sometimes snarkily) at every step. As explained by this weirdly accurate cartoon, tweets about earthquakes actually travel faster than the earthquakes themselves. Last week’s 5.8 magnitude quake gave Twitter the opportunity to blast messages up and down the east coast, possibly giving some an early warning (though more likely just giving people the chance to be the first to ask, “DID YOU FEEL THAT?”). Check out the news’ progress in this awesome animation:

While Hurricane Irene wasn’t so unexpected, Twitter and other sites still offered a window into the storm’s development, and even helped residents prepare. Foursquare helped New Yorkers look up evacuation zones and find the nearest emergency shelter. Hurricane Irene herself got her own Twitter account to offer news and safety tips. As the storm moved up the coast, Instagram and Flickr captured preparations, like an eerily deserted Grand Central Station in Manhattan:

Millions are still without power and 15 people have been confirmed dead, but the storm was still much less severe than feared. As the skies cleared and residents saw the worst hadn’t come, the Internet lit up with sighs of relief and even a few jabs at the storm that had caused so much panic. Our favorite post-storm tweet came from musician Brad Walsh:

Maybe Irene was part of the #VMAs Britney tribute? Came from the south, went a little batshit, & ultimately settled to a sedated pace.

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