The historic impact of Tropical Storm Harvey has everyone from federal agencies to the National Weather Service reeling from the storm’s power, but in the midst of it all, once again, social media is proving to be a vital life line. This time in the form of Reddit.
A massive, constantly updated page titled the Hurricane Harvey Live Megathread has emerged as one of the best sources for real time information and updates on Harvey.
From official status updates on the storm, local flooding in Texas, and additional weather events such as tornadoes — which threaten to make a disastrous situation catastrophic — the Megathread is delivering on the promise of social media far beyond the realms of joke memes and political debates.
Mixed in with official reports from sources like the Federal Aviation Administration, the Weather Channel, the National Weather Service, and local energy companies providing status updates are individual reports from citizens providing photographs of the damage.
Those photographs, and the context the scores of individual citizen reporters are adding to them, are painting a more detailed picture of the storm’s impact than ever possible in past years during such events.
Much of the sourcing is coming from Twitter, whose short messaging format is perfect for this kind of emergency event. Yes, you can search for Harvey news by following the Harvey hashtag, and Twitter does have its Moments page, which leads to a larger thread of info, but right now neither compares to the curated and rapidly updated Megathread on Reddit.
Traditional news media has been doing its best to provide as much in-depth coverage of Harvey as possible, but the sheer number of users plugged in to Reddit (over 57,000 subscribers on /r/houston alone) delivering real time updates is invaluable.
Hosted by the /r/houston Reddit group and maintained by just seven Reddit contributors, the page is currently the best place to find not only updates on Harvey-related weather events and damage, it’s also an incredible resource for emergency and rescue services for those still dealing with Harvey’s impact.