Once again, NOLA.com has been the go-to resource for those in New Orleans wanting local information about the progress and aftermath of Hurricane Gustav.
Currently, the site reports floodwater has spilled over the Plaquemines Parish levee and officials have ordered everyone out.
Thomas Broadus of Mississippi Public Broadcasting has been tweeting rapid-fire updates, the Houston Chronicle has set up a special section for storm coverage, and KDFM-TV in Beaumont, Texas, has been keeping local residents up-to-date.
Thanks to lessons learned after Hurricane Katrina, no one messed around in preparing for and reporting news of Hurricane Gustav. Some have even said the round-the-clock coverage and days of high alert have been a little too much.
The reaction might have been different had the hurricane made a direct hit.
As it is, the Gulf region is still not in the clear. NOAA reports there will be storm surge flooding of 10 to 14 feet in southeastern Louisiana and Mississippi, and as much as 17 inches of accumulated rain in northwestern Louisiana in the next three days.
Instead of watching helplessly, people have been aggregating online information useful to those seeking shelter, looking for loved ones, and wanting to know if their homes have been damaged. The Hurricane Information Center Wiki (formerly known as GustavWiki), Hurricane Gustav on You C It and Hurricane Gustav Resources are three of the bigger efforts.
It will be interesting to see how many of those directly affected by the storm have made use of these sites. There have been numerous reports of local power outages and lack of cell phone service. Is there a real-time map of active and inactive cell towers? So far I’ve not been able to find one.