Social media helping people stay connected during Hurricane Matthew

Pic: connection (WIAT)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Social media is proving to be a useful tool in keeping people connected during Hurricane Matthew.

Lani Goodrich lives in West Palm Beach, Florida. She and her family are going to ride the storm out inside their home. Goodrich is a relative of a CBS 42 News employee. We spoke to her over Facetime Thursday morning, as the wind started to pick up.

“The trees behind me, they’re blowing around. We have these Scrub Oaks that I’m a little worried about,” Goodrich said. Her husband had two more windows left to board up. All of her outdoor furniture was tied to her boat in the backyard, since they don’t have a garage.

Goodrich says that most of her family lives up north. She’s been posting pictures online to show them how her family is preparing for the storm.

“On Instagram, I’ve been posting of just our storm prep and the huge things of water seat-belted in the car next to the kids,” Goodrich laughed.

“Water is a precious commodity right now. We’re treating it like our children, buckling it in,” she explained with a smile. Most of her neighbors are staying through the storm as well. The homes on her street are already boarded up.

“It looks like a ghost town,” Goodrich shared.

For the thousands that evacuated, social media is letting them keep an eye on their neighbors and homes from a safe distance.

Rosemary Denny and her four daughters evacuated to Birmingham. They are staying with family while her husband, Brian, stayed behind with the family dog. He’s been sending her pictures of the house and neighborhood, as their neighbors prepare for the storm. She says that social media is letting her check in on her friends back in Florida.

“It’s become a little bit of a mania,” Denny laughed.

“I am obsessively checking the news and refreshing Facebook and trying to stay in touch. There’s lots of texting going on, lots of phone calls. So, it’s good technology makes it easy, but then I know there’s going to be a period where it’s going to be a blackout probably.”

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