Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey


Snowmageddon ’10

A powder snow avalanche

Image via Wikipedia

It’s happened again, it snowed (picture screaming people running away from a giant snowman)!  This has got to be one of the most under-appreciated disasters possible.  Snow is light and fluffy and fun so how could it ever do anything bad?  Well, I would bet there are thousands of people, perhaps millions who, right now, are cursing that pretty white blanket that has enveloped most of the northeastern US.  This is another example of a massive failure to prepare and plan on how to respond to a snow crisis.  The forecasting was there, people knew what was going to happen, yet cities everywhere are still struggling to return to normal.

Part of it is a failure of local government to be able to respond but civilians need to take responsibility as well.  You need to be able to function without the assistance of government for an extended period of time.  This is especially true when you have conditions that cause failure of infrastructure or make it impossible to travel.  However, this event has also proven that people are going to deal with the disaster on their own and likely in a more efficient way than the government could facilitate because of the fact that many government officials are probably stranded as well.  Social media is abuzz with reports of snow, cars stuck, road closures, etc… and people are mobilizing on this information.  The governement agencies that are paying attention are doing amazingly well considering the circumstances.  A prime example is Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, NJ.

Mayor Booker is fully utilizing Twitter and is doing a beyond impressive job at responding to his peoples requests for help.  He is coordinating the response in a very untraditional way and it speaks volumes to his commitment to the city.  The mayor is basically cruising the streets watching his twitter and digging out cars, helping shovel driveways, helping birth babies.  He understands the power of social media, he is using it as a two way communication method, and he is out there making a difference when many other officials are cozy in their offices.