Tracking Hurricane Irene On Twitter

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That Atlantic ocean side of the United States is in the middle of its hurricane season--June 1st through November 30th--and there's a storm of interest heading towards the Floridan coast called Hurricane Irene. While she hasn't hit landfall in the United States, Irene has been picking up strength, and has, in fact, already struck Puerto Rico as she heads towards the eastern seaboard.

While there are an awful lot of ways to follow the progress of Hurricane Irene--the National Hurricane Center, NASA--Twitter has proven to be quite reliable when it comes to potentially disastrous natural phenomenon, and with Hurricane Irene, it's no different. Currently, the king tweet of the Irene trend--at least in regards to being the top promoted tweet--belongs to the feed, with the following:

Hurricane Irene has been re-assessed & is expected to become a Major Hurricane by 8am Thurs. Winds over 110mph expected 26 minutes ago via web · powered by @socialditto

And thus, we see the effectiveness of the promoted tweets advertising campaign. It's great for getting you to the top of various trends lists, and in this particular case, the information is indeed pertinent, if not self-serving. MyWeather REALLY wants us to see their Bing-powered hurricane tracker.

Hurricane Irene could be the first hurricane to make landfall in the U.S since Ike in 2008. View Irene's predicted path 2 hours ago via web · powered by @socialditto

Granted, that tweet got much more reception than the first one that was embedded. Meanwhile, the latest promoted tweet has only one retweet, even thought it has more relevant information than the "check out our map" tweet, but digression is the best policy here.

As for Puerto Rico, the damage was done:

More than 800,000 without power as Hurricane Irene slams Puerto Rico | Breaking News | Wire Update News| News Wires ( ) 45 minutes ago via twitthat · powered by @socialditto

But things seems to be getting back to some level of normalcy now that Irene has moved on:

Conditions gradually improving over Puerto Rico. Hurricane conditions are possible over the north shore of the DR. 1 hour ago via TweetDeck · powered by @socialditto

While Florida is a primary concern of many on Twitter:

Dear @OfficialSanta - all I want for Un-Christmas this week is for Hurricane Irene to keep moving more East, and not hit FL. TYVM. 6 minutes ago via web · powered by @socialditto

In miami!? RT @TGI_Friday: Hurricane Irene is suppose to make landfall Thursday. Definitely not excited about that. 1 minute ago via UberSocial for BlackBerry · powered by @socialditto

Perhaps the Bahamas and Cuba should be included as well, especially when you consider Irene's path:

Hurricane Irene Path

While there may be a certain level of "only if it's happening to me is it important" that goes on at Twitter, once you can separate the wheat from the chaff, Twitter once again proves its value. It will also do a good job--provided people are paying attention to the trends--of serving as an early warning system for those who may otherwise be unaware.