A Twitter account with the handle @irene is pouring out a stream of tips on how to stay safe as Hurricane Irene batters the United States east coast.
The @irene account, which has more than 8,600 followers, is also forwarding messages from the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others.
“There are 78 hurricane shelters and 8 special medical centers across the city. There is plenty of room. No one will be turned away,” @mikebloomberg said.
“Turn fridge/freezer to coldest temp & group food together, this helps food stay cold longer if power goes out,” advised FEMA.
According to The Wall Street Journal the @irene account belongs to Irene Tien, a 28-year-old New York woman who was convinced by her colleagues at a digital media firm to lend her handle to the hurricane moving up the US East Coast.
Tien told the newspaper she was initially reluctant because “it’s a hurricane, it’s sensitive, it’s potentially dangerous and horrible.”
She was eventually, persuaded, however, and co-workers in New York are posting the tweets while Tien enjoys a weekend on the other side of the country in Los Angeles.
Along with useful information, the account also posts the occasional joke.
“My first time in Kitty Hawk!” @irene said when the hurricane touched down in the North Carolina town famed as the site of the first powered flight. “Where’s the Wright Bros. museum?”
As for Cape Lookout, also in North Carolina, @irene said it “doesn’t look anything like the brochure my travel agent gave me but still a very charming town.”