Top of the Morning, Sept. 11, 2017

Top of the Morning, Sept. 11, 2017

Having grown up in the St. Louis suburbs, I'm more used to dealing with tornadoes than hurricanes — but having spent many a vacation in Florida, the latter seem to have played more significant roles in my life.

My first run-in with one was Andrew in 1992, which had my family and I spending a good chunk of an abbreviated vacation in Tampa International Airport, scrambling to get a flight home.

Twelve years later, I was interning at the Bradenton Herald, just across Tampa Bay, when Charley reared its ugly head, forcing me out of my rental house on Anna Maria Island (we interns really had it rough) a few days early. Charley's eye ended up making landfall about 60 miles south, in Port Charlotte. Talk about an education in disaster journalism.

A year after that, I was just two months into my job on The News-Gazette's copy desk when Katrina's devastation of New Orleans dominated our wire pages.

Suffice it to say, these storms have always fascinated me, not least because of the role technology has played in improving how we track and prepare for them — and how journalistic outlets warn the public and tell victims' stories.

And with two of the most ferocious hurricanes in history hitting the U.S. in the past two weeks, two papers are giving master classes in harnessing that technology.

The New York Times, already a powerhouse in interactive graphics, has a web page devoted to maps and satellite images tracking Hurricane Irma. Same story at the Washington Post, which also published a tool that lets you see what the more-than-50-inches of rain that Hurricane Harvey dumped on Houston would look like if your house were ground zero.

And because that coverage deals with public-safety emergencies, both papers made it clear that none of it would be subject to pay walls — which reminds me to tell you that The News-Gazette has the same policy. During any major weather event in our area, coverage on news-gazette.com will be available without restriction, so you can stay safe.

Sections (3):News, Local, Weather
Topics (2):Internet, Technology