Trending on Facebook now is the first Atlantic category 5 hurricane since 2007—Hurricane Matthew. Where people get their information on storm reporting has changed drastically with the advent of Facebook’s trending issues. 120,000 people are talking about Hurricane Matthew, and links to Doppler radar, satellite footage, and posted commentary abound from various private accounts.

What the average Facebook user can gain from reporting on storms in a digital age is critical. People can be warned weeks ahead of time when storms begin to form, how fast they are moving, and when they will hit. This knowledge can mitigate threats to countries like Jamaica and their citizens. “The US National Hurricane Center in Miami says Matthew is packing top sustained winds of 160 mph,” claims an article from the Jamaica Observer.

Most striking to me was the image of the world (seen above) from satellite where Matthew’s swirling cloud hovers over the Atlantic.

Amateur “weather reporters” on Facebook do run the risk of editorializing further fear into the general public. Yet, storm reporting is as accessible as ever to journalists and citizens looking to share their concern with society on Facebook and the web.

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