Social Media tells the Story of Storms in Harford County, Maryland

  1. See the original “Storify” version here, with all of the hyperlinks enabled.
    The storm’s approach was widely tweeted and posted to other social networks.
  2. nbcwashington
    Tornado watch for D.C., MD, and VA until 2 a.m. Radar: #Breaking #dcwx #mdwx #vawx
    Fri, Jun 01 2012 20:02:36
  3. As damage occurred people and news organizations posted it to social sites.
  4. PayNoDcom
    RT @TxStormChasers: Sign/tree damage photo from Pleasant Hills, MD from TSC volunteer Ryan Sheff #mdwx #tornado #severe
    Sat, Jun 02 2012 10:39:53
  5. doyourpartorg
    Fallston, #Maryland has major damage, collapsed building, people trapped #Tornado #MSWX
    Fri, Jun 01 2012 21:19:10
  6. Although the tag “MDWX” which stands for Maryland Weather, was widely used, some folks used MSWX–not sure what that means, and “AuntieEM” also popped up as a tag. I thought it demonstrated that people not only have a sense of gallows humor when it comes to disasters, but also that we in the emergency response community have to be prepared to go where the people are!
  7. Escandalo26
    Heading to the basement in Reisterstown. Bringing wine w/ me. #AuntieEm would be proud. @JustinWeather @owingspatch
    Fri, Jun 01 2012 21:31:33
  8. shayneadamski
    Ha. DC. “@Kim26stephens: Funny–ppl are using #AuntieEm for this weather event. Goes to show, you can’t tell the public which tag to use!”
    Fri, Jun 01 2012 22:35:58
  9. dawnauburn
    Ironic. Tornado today. Going to see the Wizard if OZ tomorrow at Toby’s dinner theater. #auntieem
    Fri, Jun 01 2012 18:44:22
  10. CITYPEEKpatti
    @donnahamiltontv #AuntieEm is trending i just walked my 2 Toto’s in b city
    Fri, Jun 01 2012 18:38:46
  11. There were a few homes damaged by falling trees. This image was one of the most widely circulated.
  12. MelserWBAL
    RT @AvaWBAL: Dry, breezy and cooler in #Baltimore today for cleanup efforts #MDwx MT @MelserWBAL: How’d you like to wake up to this?
    Sat, Jun 02 2012 08:44:29
  13. Norma Huczek
    Well…our little town of Bel Air, Maryland made national news tonight because of terrible storms! No fatalities, only minor injuries from downed trees. Some nearby neighbors in Fallston, Maryland had the most damage to property. We still have lots and lots of wind and rain tonight, but our area does have power….whoot! Guess it’s officially summer in Maryland! “The sun will come out tomorrow………yes, indeed ;)”.
    Fri, Jun 01 2012 23:42:36
  14. People also reporting that they made it through without problems.
  15. Adelaide Oehlsen
    Bad storms last nite, small tornado touched down in Fallston, not too far from where we are. We just had lots of rain.
    Sat, Jun 02 2012 11:17:22
  16. Steven Archer
    So this is less than a mile from our house. What’s crazy is all we got is some heavy rain and some downed limbs.
    Sat, Jun 02 2012 09:58:29
  17. People like to tell their disaster stories.
  18. Mary Ann Chenoweth
    Storms last night. Went to Walmart in Fallston, left about 5:44 pm. Then went down Harford Rd, tree down, had to go out to Belair Rd. Should take about 20 minutes to get home, took hour. When I got home, TV said that storms were so bad in Fallston that Walmart had been damaged along with other stores in area. Belair Rd in Fallston was closed down. Guess I just made it. Driving home was heavy rain, wind and darkness at around 6 pm. Didn’t realize it was so bad until I turned on TV
    Sat, Jun 02 2012 07:31:07
  19. The Baltimore Sun and other city papers picked up the story, which was circulated via social networks as well. Interestingly, the Baltimore Sun requested pictures from the storm via their twitter feed.
  20. MdWeather
    Have any pictures from last night’s storms? of #tornado damage? share it: #mdwx #mdweather
    Sat, Jun 02 2012 11:29:36
  21. baltimoresun
    “It sounded just like a freight train.” NWS says tornado likely hit Fallston area of Harford County.
    Fri, Jun 01 2012 22:06:51
  22. BaltimoreCP
    The after effects of the storm passing through Maryland has left Fallston with extensive d
    Sat, Jun 02 2012 01:32:05
  23. Here is one example of the volunteer and donation spirit coming to the fore, even with a very small, localized event.
  24. Heather Ziehl
    The Calm AFTER The Storm – My heart goes out to ALL that were affected by the tornadoes throughout Maryland and Virginia last night. A tornado touched down in Fallston, MD just a few miles from our home. I’m thankful and happy to report that our family and friends are all ok.For those of you in our community still without power, I just got off the phone with NVS Salon & Spa; they’re setting up complimentary shampoo and blow-dry stations for your use.
    Sat, Jun 02 2012 07:59:42

6 responses to “Social Media tells the Story of Storms in Harford County, Maryland

  1. Great curation and post! There are other parts of the story I’m always interested in and I’m curious if they were mentioned in social media. How many people displaced, more complete damage assessment, demographics of area and those affected, where public was gathering for information, which agencies responded, and which agencies are still providing assistance, how the public can be more prepared for disasters like this next time. This is absolutely not a criticism — this post has so much useful information and gives a great snapshot of the event. I wanted to comment to broaden the after-the-immediate-event discussion towards our understanding of what types of information those telling the story and emergency mangers may need to gather outside of social media.

  2. I think the Baltimore Sun story referenced above had all the answers (or at least most) to these questions. What was interesting to me was that the local governments around here did not do a great job with posting this info to the social networks where they have a presence. Our local county’s Facebook page, for example, had exactly one post in the past 24 hours about the storm and it referenced road closures. Furthermore, they never went back and posted that the roads were reopened. Although you stated in your comment that info needs to be gathered outside of social media, I do think once an organization joins the conversation, people look to their presence for consistent information. This necessitates advanced planning in order to meet that expectation–I’m not sure we are there yet!

  3. The local gov agencies with online presence likely would have been more communicative if these vents occurred during normal business hours. And I agree with all of your points. Great observations Kim!

  4. It is possible that they would have been more responsive if this would have happened before 5pm, but honestly, I do not buy that excuse. They posted the possibility of severe storms the day before. I heard from Fairfax Country, Virginia, for example, all of the plans they were putting in place to monitor social media. I think it’s probably a function here in my small county of the social media person also having other “more important” responsibilities during a crisis response.

  5. As I think about this more… I’m realizing that your local government agencies need YOU (and your neighbors) to guide them where they need to be, and in a friendly, non-snarky way, continually remind them to be there.

    My personal strategy has been to mention the appropriate agency’s twitter handle while retweeting a question that someone from the public has asked that the agency has already answered in a press release. This becomes a “softball” that is an easy way for them to engage, and reminds them that the public they serve are congregating online (and often sharing actionable intelligence). I’m finding that also mentioning another agency or authoritative local #SMEM-er who can echo my comments increases the likelihood of a response. This will be lots and lots and lots of baby steps that exponentially increase horizontally and vertically, and as individual community memembers we must be very mindful that we have limited capital and need to use it at the right time. In other words, throwing egg on agencies faces doesn’t help any of us.

    And all that said, I still look forward to us teasing out the types of info that is generally less likely to be shared on social media by PIOs or the pubilc. i.e.: How did the Baltimore Sun story get their information that wasn’t on social media?

  6. Pingback: Social Media tells the Story of Storms in Harford County, Maryland.. |

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