Hurricane Ready: Coast Guard Adapts to the Social Media Storm-USNI

Maximum sustained wind speed and minimum pressure of Hurricane Harvey (2017), Data source: NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, TROPICAL CYCLONE REPORT, HURRICANE HARVEY, NOAA

The October US Naval Institute (USNI) Proceedings has what I think may be an important article, discussing the Coast Guard’s use of Social Media in response to Hurricane Harvey. The article is “Hurricane Ready: Coast Guard Adapts to the Social Media Storm,” by Cadet Evan Twarog, USCG. (Unfortunately for those of you who are not USNI members, it is behind the pay wall)

During Hurricane Harvey work with volunteer organizations and crisis mapping became critical. It is a remarkable story of cooperation and rapid innovation.

Not only does the article discuss the service’s use of social media during Harvey, it also talks about future use including standardization. Cadet Twarog points out, and to some extent answers, the following,. “Now the service needs to examine how to permanently and systematically monitor social media calls. To make this possible, four questions must be answered:

  1. “How will the Coast Guard collect information?
  2. “Who will be responsible for the information?
  3. “How will it be distributed throughout the Coast Guard?
  4. “How will the information be used?

7 thoughts on “Hurricane Ready: Coast Guard Adapts to the Social Media Storm-USNI

  1. Oh great, just what we need! Another Storm Scaling System to confuse the Average Weekend Boater. Why do I suspect that there’s a Political Overtune associated with this current administration…

      • Most Boaters that I know, have problems just trying to make sense of either the “Beaufort Scale” and/or the “Saffir-Simpson Scale”. Now they want to confuse the average boater even more by adding a “Barometric Scale” to the MIX…

      • The barometric scale is not about wind and it isn’t new. It measures atmospheric pressure, and has been in use since the 17th century. (
        Ships that have to make their own local weather forecasts have their own barometers and record readings frequently. Changes in barometric pressure indicate changing weather. rapid drops in particular usually indicate bad weather. You can see that in the chart. The rapid drop in barometric pressure is accompanied by rapidly increasing wind velocity (the scale on the left and the reddish brown line that peaks at 132. .

      • And how many Weekend Sailors do stupid thing, like Boating beyond the Breakwaters before the Storm…

  2. Last year the Coast Guard made use of social media and a custom App built by volunteers to help locate and triage those that needed help, size of group, location, issues (no water, medical evacuation needed etc.) – had some bugs but worked well when the 911 system was jammed.

  3. No disrespect to the Cadet, but there are two systems for this already, ICS and the PA office, there’s no need to add extra layers to the system.

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