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Hurricane Irene: An Internet Wrap-up

Reactions toward the event vary, but its impact is inarguable

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Hurricane Irene: An Internet Wrap-up
[ Social Media]

Hurricane (and later Tropical Storm) Irene has come and gone, leaving at least a few dozen people dead and causing major flooding and power outages for much of the east coast.

The storm hit over the weekend, attacking the coast of North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and later New York City and parts of New Jersey, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Here are some quick stats about the impact of Irene:

  • 700K are without power in both Connecticut and Massachusetts
  • 284K without power in Rhode Island and 600K in New Jersey
  • Throughout the entire east coast, upwards of 6 million home and businesses are without power today
  • Damage estimates total around $3 million
  • At some point, every single road in Vermont except for I-89 and I-91 has been closed for flooding
  • At least 28 confirmed casualties attributed to the storm

About those casualties, the AP has a list of the deceased, complete with the causes of death. For instance, an 85 year-old woman in Maryland was killed when a tree knocked a chimney through her sunroof. And in New York, a man was electrocuted as he tried to help a young child who was in a flooded street with downed power lines.

Obviously, Hurricane Irene has had a tremendous impact on the east coast. But it didn’t quite live up to the apocalyptic hype that dominated the airwaves for the days leading up to the event. Most notably, NYC was not hit with the force that was predicted. The Oatmeal has a great comic today about the unpredictability of weather and the hype machine that attempts to predict it.

The disclaimer reads as such:


The point of this comic wasn’t to undermine the damage of Irene or imply that we all wanted more destruction, it was to highlight two different things:

1. The weather on this planet is very, very fickle. The worst disasters aren’t the ones we see broadcasted on CNN days before they happen, with newscasters promoting which Twitter hash tag you should use meanwhile situating their cameras to maximize the dramatic effect of floodwater. The worst disasters come out of nowhere with very little warning, such as the Japanese tsunami or hurricane Katrina.

2. Hurricane Irene was a hype-fest of epic proportions and I’m betting whoever runs The Weather Channel is probably buying himself another mega-yacht this week.

This brings up a good point. Did you feel like the lead-up hype to Hurricane Irene was a little more extreme than normal? Sure, we should be used to doomsday weather predictions, Irene isn’t the first storm that we have obsessed over. But was Irene more bark than bite?

But even if Irene was hyped to epic proportions, is that really a bad thing? Many on Twitter are talking about the criticism of the “media hype.”

Easy to criticize the media and the Irene “hype”…but if just one family evacuated and it saved lives, then the “hype” was worth it to me. 3 hours ago via web · powered by @socialditto

My deepest sympathies to the media. Sorry Irene didn’t deliver on your dire warnings. 3 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone · powered by @socialditto

if you think Irene was “over-hyped” go talk to those millions (me included) without power, and the families of those that died this wknd 3 hours ago via TweetDeck · powered by @socialditto

@njdotcom #Irene not living up to the hype is a good thing. People are so stupid. It’s called gratitude. 13 minutes ago via Twitter for iPhone · powered by @socialditto

People took to Flickr to share their photos of the Hurricane’s aftermath –

[Credits: Flickr accounts of Mrs, Gemstone, D. Fletcher, j3net and Edwin Martinez1, respectively]

In other social media news, Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley decided to do some live reporting on the Hurricane in NYC. He posted photos and videos on his Flickr account documenting the (sometimes less than impressive) damage that Irene caused to his car and apartment. Here’s a video he posted from East River Park-

And let’s not forget what the Lord Almighty had to say about the Hurricane –

Hurricane Irene threatens the East Coast of USA. If MTV won’t cancel Jersey Shore, God will. 2 days ago via Dabr · powered by @socialditto

Our well wishes go out to everyone affected by Irene.

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Hurricane Irene: An Internet Wrap-up
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  • sam

    So 700,000 people with no power. 33 people killed, including an 85 yr old grandmother. 2000 + military personal taken away from their homes and families. From where I’m sitting there wasn’t enough hype. 1 death is too many and anyone else that says otherwise is extremely narrow sighted.

  • http://www.floodeliminatorsinc.com/flood_help.html long island ny flood damage cleanup

    Hurricane Irene was a hype-fest of epic proportions and Iā€™m betting whoever runs The Weather Channel is probably buying himself another mega-yacht this week.