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Social Media is helping after tornadoes

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Almost immediately after the tornado hit, special hashtags started to appear on Twitter. Sympathetic internet users used #PrayForVilonia and #PrayForMayflower to show their support for these beleaguered towns.

Instagram was filled with images of the devastation. It also described ways to help. From Strange Brew Coffee House's Instagram account in Starkville people were encouraged to drop off donations of water, food, clothing, blankets, pillows, towels, toiletries, rakes, tarps and gloves to Starkville drop-off locations at Strange Brew, LA Green, Thyme, Juva Juice, The Veranda, 929 Coffee House, Midtown Pilates and Sprout.

Facebook as always led the way with pictures and news of family, friends, neighborhoods and towns that were affected. Here are some of the links:

Pets Lost & Found From Arkansas Tornado (April 27, 2014) - https://www.facebook.com/groups/644821885600924/?ref=br_tf

Lost Photos, Pets, Etc. From Arkansas April 27, 2014 Tornado- https://www.facebook.com/arkansastornado

Arkansas Tornado 4-27-14 Photos and Documents Lost and Found - https://www.facebook.com/groups/466163843514503/

Mayflower Arkansas Tornado Recovery - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mayflower-Arkansas-Tornado-Recovery/628814633877606

Arkansas Tornado & Severe Weather- https://www.facebook.com/ArkansasTornadoInfo2013

On March 5,2014 at 5:30, the Norman Oklahoma branch of National Weather Service conducted a Social Media Tornado Drill. This drill comes during their National Severe Weather Preparedness Week as a way to help people be ready for the severe weather we see throughout the year. They wanted to see how many people they could reach quickly if it were an actual tornado event. A tornado drill message was sent through Facebook and Twitter. It was to be viewed, liked, shared and re tweeted. The Facebook post reached 46,000 users within 15 minutes of it being posted and more than 290,000 users within an hour of its posting. On average there is only a 15-minute lead time for a tornado warning.

The American Red Cross has been in the Southeast to aid the victims. They also have a Tornado App that will give you the steps to take in case of a tornado. There is also an audible siren that automatically goes off even if app is closed when NOAA issues a tornado warning helping to reduce the chance of sleeping through an actual warning.

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