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Offbeat The apps Americans are relying on to survive Hurricane Florence

17:06  14 september  2018
17:06  14 september  2018 Source:   qz.com

Florence downgraded to Category 3 hurricane

  Florence downgraded to Category 3 hurricane Hurricane Florence was downgraded to a Category 3 storm on Wednesday night but may strengthen by the weekend, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The storm is in the middle of the Atlantic, about 1,085 miles east-northeast of the Northern Leeward Islands and about 1,235 miles east-southeast of Bermuda, with maximum sustained winds at 125 mph. Florence was a Category 4 earlier Wednesday before weakening a bit by night time. It is moving northwest at 10 mph.

a person standing on a sidewalk© Provided by Quartz

As many as 10 million people may lie in the path of Hurricane Florence, which is bringing strong winds and a massive storm surge to the coast of the Carolinas, and is expected to dump more than a foot of rain on already-saturated areas of the eastern United States.

Americans are relying on a patchwork of federal, non-profit, and business apps and websites to stay in touch, track damage from the slow-moving storm, and figure out where to go.

The main federal disaster agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), has an app that is supposed to provide up-to-the minute information about the storm, shelters, and evacuation routes. It is crashing constantly, according to Android users. (Quartz’s didn’t have the same problems, but hitting the “get directions” button to one North Carolina shelter inexplicably opened up Uber.)

Will snakes be in the flooded waterways after Hurricane Florence?

  Will snakes be in the flooded waterways after Hurricane Florence? MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - Snakes are not the biggest threat during Hurricane Florence, but they will be out there. Thad Bowman with Alligator Adventure said that the flooding following Florence will stem from snake habitats along water ways. This could potentially dislocate them into the flood waters. He said people should not be out during the storm, but if you are bit by a snake, get to a hospital as soon as possible. While many area hospitals are closed ahead of the storm, Conway Medical Center is still open.There is little you can do on your own to survive a snake bite, so getting to a hospital is important.A snake bite is an emergency worth causing 911 during a storm.

FEMA also recommends the Red Cross’s Hurricane app, which shows location specific weather alerts, has a flashlight and an alarm, and allows users to connect with people in their contacts, but doesn’t have information on shelters.

Local and state emergency services were overwhelmed by the scope and damage during last year’s Hurricane Harvey, and hundreds of stranded people were rescued by independent volunteers and organized groups like the “Cajun Navy,” with the help of private apps and communication networks.

Zello PTT Walkie Talkie, a “push to talk” app, allows users to communicate when phone lines are down, and was an essential part of the crowdsourced rescue effort during Hurricane Harvey.

Will snakes be in the flooded waterways after Hurricane Florence?

  Will snakes be in the flooded waterways after Hurricane Florence? MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - Snakes are not the biggest threat during Hurricane Florence, but they will be out there. Thad Bowman with Alligator Adventure said that the flooding following Florence will stem from snake habitats along water ways. This could potentially dislocate them into the flood waters. He said people should not be out during the storm, but if you are bit by a snake, get to a hospital as soon as possible. While many area hospitals are closed ahead of the storm, Conway Medical Center is still open.There is little you can do on your own to survive a snake bite, so getting to a hospital is important.A snake bite is an emergency worth causing 911 during a storm.

Crowdsource Rescue is an app that “empowers neighbors to help neighbors, via use of mapping, tracking, and rescue technology.” Users choose between “I need to be rescued” and “I can help rescue,” and connect with people near them. The app was created by an Emergency Medical Technician in response to the overwhelmed emergency services during Hurricane Harvey.

'It Wants to Get Stronger': NOAA Hurricane Hunter Flies into Florence

  'It Wants to Get Stronger': NOAA Hurricane Hunter Flies into Florence A hurricane hunter with the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) flew into the category three Hurricane Florence and reported back Wednesday what he was seeing.Florence is currently churning through the Atlantic, only a few hundred miles off the coast of Wilmington, N.C.

People fleeing Florence can find hundreds of places on AirBnBto stay for free; the company will screen applicants and cover homeowners for any damage up to $1 million. Harmany is an app created specifically to connect people during natural disasters. It’s set up so that people who have a place can list it, adding it to a map where those needing shelter can find them.

Gas Buddy, which lets users search for gas prices and availability by zip code, has set up a special “Florence Live Updates” page and section on its app so users can identify which gas stations are out of fuel, diesel, or power.

Dozens of Facebook groups have sprung up about the storm, offering tips on how to secure your windows, find gas, and crowdsourced links for local help. In some instances people are offering up rooms for strangers fleeing the storm. Hurricane Florence Safety Check-in is the largest, with over 550,000 users.

"Zero to crazy in no time": Storm chaser describes Florence's wrath .
Aaron Rigsby compared the storm's behavior to Hurricane Harvey, which brought catastrophic flooding to Houston last August . "The thing that's so similar about this, not necessarily the intensity, is it's behaving a lot like Hurricane Harvey last year, how it's just kind of parking here, slowly moving, dumping tremendous amounts of rain and some of these areas could see 20 to even 30 inches of rain by the time it's all said and done."Gradual weakening is forecast later today and tonight but the major concern over storm surge remains.

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