I discovered over the weekend that the Northfield News did file a story about the Feb. 28 flood preparedness public meeting. For some reason, it’s not on their website.
While city leaders want residents to take precautions now, property owners want the city to give them more information before and during future flood events. "Where can we get accurate information?" asked Alex Beeby, who works at the Just Food Co-op on South Water Street.
Others who attended the meeting were critical of what the saw as the city’s inability to share necessary information with property owners along the river during last September’s flood.
And while city leaders, including Public Safety Director Mark Taylor and Tim Madigan understood residents concerns, disseminating real-time information during a crisis, they said, can be a challenge. The city will connect with local media outlets, said Taylor, and update its website as time allows.
I spoke at the meeting, too, pointing out that the City’s new flood preparedness information site is not set up for facilitating near-real time information flow. There’s no RSS feed, no email signup list, no blog. They don’t plan to use Twitter or Facebook. It’s a 1999 style web site, chock full of information and links but not set up at all to allow residents and local media to help new information flow virally through the social media landscape. City mothers and fathers don’t seem to understand that 1) the City is its own information channel; and 2) that its audience has audiences. It was more than a little ironic that the notice for that Feb. 28 public meeting was NOT posted to the City’s own flood preparedness page.
It doesn’t appear that we’ll experience severe flooding this spring. But who knows?
After the rain this weekend, the Straight River was near 10 feet in Faribault at midnight, the second highest level in the past decade, according to the Sunday Faribault Daily News. (See the U.S. Geological Survey real-time data site for the Straight River.)
A winter storm is a possibility this week. Heavy thunderstorms in April could change things in a hurry.
Why not prepare now to make rear real-time flood information flow?