Posted by Jason Stamm
On Aug. 28, Hurricane Dorian formed, as it strengthened from a tropical storm. A week later, Dorian has left a path of destruction through the Bahamas and has the southeastern United States still bracing for its impact.
After forming over the U.S. Virgin Islands, Dorian trudged northwest. It then lingered over the Bahamas for over 48 hours, according to CBS News, with seven confirmed dead and thousands of homes leveled.
On Sunday, as it moved into the Bahamas, Dorian had a clear eye wall and sustained winds of 185 miles per hour, one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes on record. That marked it as a category five hurricane, the highest rated storm. On Wednesday, Dorian had weakened to a category two storm, with winds of 105 miles per hour, as it moved parallel to the northern Florida coast. It’s expected to graze the coastal area of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Wilmington, North Carolina early Friday morning, before heading northeast back into the Atlantic Ocean.
As you can imagine, Hurricane Dorian has been widely talked about on social media. In the week since it formed, the storm has been mentioned 2.3 million times, 92 percent occurring on Twitter, according to Social Studio data. Perhaps surprisingly, however, the volume of tweets has declined since Sunday, when it struck the Bahamas.
Dorian is a perfect example, however, of the reach and power of social media. Various platforms have been used to inform the public of Dorian’s path, as the storm has continued to change trajectories. ABC, NBC and the BBC have been among the top influencers identified, as they have steadily updated their coverage.
But social media has also been used by those directly involved in the storm. Some people have used Twitter, for instance, to document what they witness, while others have used it as a way to mark themselves safe from harm’s way.
Even after the destruction left behind in the Bahamas, Dorian isn’t done. Even if projections prove true and it does indeed head out to the north Atlantic this weekend, it could still result in storm surge, flooding and other damage to coastal areas.
We’ll continue to monitor Hurricane Dorian from our home in east Tennessee.