Superstorm Sandy's Social Media Surge in Twitter: A Three-Dimensional Analysis

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Thursday, 6 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Craig A. Ramseyer, University Of Georgia, Athens, GA; and J. A. Knox, J. Rackley, and A. W. Black

Superstorm Sandy caused an estimated $65 billion in damages and claimed over 250 lives as it impacted the mid-Atlantic coast. Social media played a prominent role in communication during the storm, with over 20 million tweets being sent between 27 October - 1 November 2012. Twitter was an essential lifeline for residents, as it was available through mobile phones even as power outages cut off other forms of communication during the storm. Archived, geolocated tweets were gathered for the period 25 October - 3 November 2012 to capture the range of communication during the life cycle of Sandy as it initially moved off the coast of Florida, to its eventual landfall and extratropical transition. Results show the spatial and temporal variation of the tweets and give a clearer picture of how social media platforms such as Twitter are used by the public during disasters. A thorough understanding of these uses will allow more effective communication of weather information to the public.