Sep 6, 2016

Hype, Bust Or Effective? Messaging Hermine In A Post-Hurricane Sandy Era

Long Island, New York
Marshall Shepherd
The last days of Post Tropical Storm Hermine. Image: NOAA
The last days of Post Tropical Storm Hermine. Image: NOAA

Hermine is no longer with us but is certainly in the running for legendary social media status. The storm was tracked from the Atlantic Ocean as Invest 99L to landfalling Hurricane Hermine in the panhandle of Florida. Landfall was not the end of Hermine. The storm was downgraded to a Tropical Storm and eventually became a “post tropical cyclone.” Dennis Mersereau wrote an excellent piece in Forbes on this transition . Hermine, similar to Sandy a few years ago, transitioned from a “tropical” system deriving its energy from latent heat exchanges associated with evaporation of warm ocean water/condensation in thunderstorms to a storm system deriving most of its energy from air mass differences (it has fronts). On Tuesday September 6th the National Hurricane Center tweeted:

All coastal tropical storm warnings discontinued for #Hermine. Last NHC advisory issued.

With that brief eulogy issued I thought that it would be interesting to look back at “messaging” of the storm as it transition and stalled off the Northeast coast of United States. This is one of the most populated regions of the country and one that still has vivid memories of Sandy’s inundation and coastal erosion. These factors coupled with what some call an “East Coast media bias” and social media frenzy produced significant interest in the storm even as a “post tropical” system