Social Media Covers a Tornado

On Saturday night / Sunday morning, a storm hit Southwestern Ontario and, in particular, did its worst damage to the town of Leamington, Ontario.  Leamington is known as the southern most part of Canada and Point Pelee National Park is a very popular tourist destination.  It’s a place that we head to many times a year.  There’s nothing like seeing the monarch butterflies gather there in preparation for their migration across Lake Erie.

The storm must have gone over our house-ish on its way east.  I heard loud thunder and there was incredible rain coming down.  After I checked the windows, I went back to bed thinking no more about it until waking Saturday morning to read this message on Twitter from CBCNews.

I headed to the local newspaper website, the Leamington newspaper website, CBC, The Weather Network, etc. to read about the damage that resulted in the declaration of a state of emergency.  In the map above, you can see that Seacliff Dr and Erie Street would be wide open to anything approaching over the water.

Through Twitter, I got a message from a friend who lives near Leamington indicating how he was affected and a message back confirmed that he and his family were OK.  At the reception for the Photography Exhibition, many of the Leamington area winners were noticeably absent but a conversation with another friend who lives in the area indicated that, while they were mildly impacted, many others were not so fortunate.

What was interesting in the aftermath was how the media services had opened their websites to citizens to upload photos and movies to share the experience.  In these days of cutbacks, it’s a challenge to completely cover the breaking stories and so local residents become photo-journalists.

Galleries can be found at the following locations:

Folks were not limited to still photos.  YouTube was abuzz with video like this and other related showing the damage.

There will be more unfolding as this story develops.  The best thing so far is that there were no reported deaths as a result.

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links for 2010-06-06