Storm Social: Lessons from a Big Storm

Storm Social: Lessons from a Big Storm

Storm Social: Lessons from a Big Storm

As I started this blog post, a huge storm was raging outside my home. Wind and rain pummeled the windows, and the river overflowed its banks, and in some cases, flooded. Over the past few days, the culvert under the road leading to my home failed suddenly from the excess water. Overnight, what had been a safe road became hazardous.

People Are Social

I was thinking about how dependent we are upon other people, and how often people will surprise you. And also about how people can become social if they’re forced to be. So far, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by everyone’s willingness to help out, their friendliness, and how quickly things came together in the face of this big storm.


One neighbor helped pull the big stumps and debris out of the culvert using the winch on his truck. Every single contractor I called for help phoned back within 36 hours, and they all showed up quickly to investigate the scene. Within 24 hours, I had chosen a contractor to fix the culvert, and within two days there were 3-1/2 truckloads of Gabian rock dumped in place to prevent further erosion. And by the way, I found all the contractors by asking for referrals through a neighborhood Facebook group.

Storm Social: Before a Big Storm

Storm Social: Before a Big Storm

On the up side of the culvert, water rushed down and into the drainage. Corrugated metal was inserted into the rotting metal pipe and foam put in place to prevent the corrugated metal from sliding. A huge piece of corroded pipe was cut and then removed with a backhoe. The temporary fix was put into place.

Rubber was put into place to create a slide for the water. One piece of the corrugated metal was fanned out to create a waterfall effect at the down side of the water.

Social Media

While all this was happening, neighbors from far and wide came together to watch the progress, offer advice, give sympathy, and offer help in all forms. It was an amazing thing to see! So now I’ve met people up and down the street, as well as in the larger community, through social media.

Facebook groups were revived like mushrooms after a rainfall, so that neighbors could share posts, pictures, and resources about the storm. Many groups added huge numbers of fans quite quickly, as people wondered what the weather was like and which roads were passable. My new favorite on Facebook is the wonderfully informative U.S. National Weather Service San Francisco Bay Area/Monterey. They gave updates as well as answered questions live on Facebook and their Twitter account. Other, more local groups, gave very specific updates on the roads in the mountains.

I added to my Twitter list of news organizations to be able to track the news more easily–something I recommend everyone do. And if you don’t know about lists, you can learn more about them here.

We only had two days to get the culvert fixed and our “band-aid solution” in place, and then we prayed that the rain wouldn’t be too much for the culvert. During the height of the storm, I went by, and the culvert was intact! There was some dirt below, but most of it held. A not at all minor miracle!




  1. Glad to read you were okay. We have a local Facebook group that I’ve seen come together on a number of occasions. It’s a great idea especially for us in small outlying communities.

  2. That is a great story about people and how they can come together to help one another.

  3. Jessie Torres says

    Social media can be a great hyper local help pitch amplifier. Glad all hands did well and help came through as needed.

    • Hi Jessie,
      Thank you! Some companies only want to use local social media. Restaurants, for instance, want to connect locally, and don’t care as much about people in other cities or counties. Thank you for the comment.

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