On Saturday, August 27, 2011 the Watershed Post launched its coverage of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene and its expected impact on the Catskills region of upstate New York. Below is the text of our homepage as it appeared throughout the Catskills flooding and its aftermath. Our coverage included a town-by-town list of damage, an interactive spreadsheet for tracking people stranded by the storm, a spreadsheet tracking relief resources for flood victims, a map of road closures updated by a volunteer GIS expert, and a live blog that allowed anyone on the site to post a question or information in realtime as the storm hit.
The live blog ran continuously for 13 days, from 4pm on Saturday, August 27 until 9pm on Thursday, September 8. During that time, it received roughly 80,000 hits and hosted 10,000 comments, all of which had to be approved. As traffic swelled, a group of about 30 people from the Catskills and elsewhere volunteered to moderate the liveblog in shifts, dispensing useful information and friendly reassurance to flood victims and their families 24 hours a day immediately after the storm and, as days became a week, from 7am to 9pm.
The live blog fielded pleas for help locating lost loved ones, requests for information about road closures, contributed photos of the devastation, information about relief, and much more. It was, many readers have told us, the fastest source of trustworthy information during the storm.
The entire Irene liveblog is now archived below, along with the message and links to other coverage that appeared under it while it was running. You can scroll through it from beginning to end.
-- Julia Reischel and Lissa Harris, Publisher and Editor of the Watershed Post
The Watershed Post is using a liveblogging service called CoverItLive to bring you real-time updates on Tropical Storm Irene's devastating impact on the Catskills. The liveblog, which has been live for over a week, is being staffed by a group of citizen-journalist moderators, and is also automatically pulling in Twitter feeds from local news outlets, FEMA, local Red Cross chapters, and anyone on Twitter using the hashtag #catskills. It is open from 7am to 9pm. Please feel free to use it to ask questions and share information about what's happening around the Catskills.
If you have news to share, please also leave a comment through the CoverItLive interface above, which remains our fastest-breaking source of local news. Comments will be moderated and published as quickly as possible.
We are aggregating the information we have been gathering from pro news outlets and citizen journalists throughout the region on the following pages. Please check these pages for our summaries of the latest information. If you have any information, photos or video to share, please leave it in a comment on the appropriate page.
We have launched a page for each town in which significant flooding occurred during Hurricane Irene. Click on individual town links for coverage of each town.
We are hearing reports that people are still stranded throughout the Catskills, so we've built a list to track them. View the spreadsheet and add to it by clicking the link above.