Chuck Schumer in the 1960s, competing for James Madison High School on the It’s Academic television quiz show

In the days following the events of Superstorm Sandy, communication between emergency workers, city officials, major media outlets and citizens was spotty. We saw it here at Sheepshead Bites, where we scrambled to assemble and organize all the various reports coming out of city, state and federal agencies – not to mention the nonprofit orgs and local elected officials providing their own services.

According to a press release, Senator Chuck Schumer wants to create a centralized source of information for people to turn to in the case of future emergencies that streamlines all the most pertinent data in an easy to use manner.

Schumer’s call to improve communication between residents and officials comes after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) report which highlighted a series of problems about the way information was disseminated to the public leading up to and after the events of Sandy. The report recommended that the government create a new website, “storm.gov” which would be the single authority for all storm related emergency information.

“There simply cannot be confusion about which agency’s website is the go-to source during extreme weather, that’s why I’m urging them to implement ‘storm.gov,’ a one-stop source of accurate information for emergency personnel, the media, and impacted residents,” said Schumer. “I commend the work the National Weather Service and NOAA did in the days leading up to Superstorm Sandy, but their own report clearly indicates we have room for improvement when it comes to communication and keeping everyone in the know during these dangerous storms.”

To me, this sounds like a good idea, the ultimate federal emergency app that would give people the most up-to-date and accurate information from officials. It seems better than just relying on random Twitter remarks, snatches of radio news broadcasts and wild rumors that get spread during these catastrophes – but not as good, of course, as checking in with your favorite local news website. What do you think?

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  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

    We need a way of knowing about unforseen circumstances such as tornadoes, which are occurring ore frequently here than before. Or even the existence of a heavy rain front that could drop two or two inches in a relatively short period of time. Applets such as Weatherbug exist, but are problematic. A NOAA applet should be developed.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

      Schumer seems focused on a web site based source.

  • bill

    Really! What is needed is more public knowledge and understanding of weather. It starts in schools with a good science education. There was more than enough information available if anyone cared to listen. Instead we saw Jim Cantore on the Weather Channel in Battery Park looking at some waves and never saying that the storm surge in Breezy Point will float across from the ocean to the bay and be more than 6′ deep; just like a tsunami. Anyone following NOAA’s sites (and ALL
    private weather services use that data as their main, if not their only,source) knew what to expect. But on the other hand the popular view of science has been degraded to the point that many think it is just a liberal conspiracy and that wacko science is as valid all the other “theories”. A central “go to” spot for information? Who trusts the government?