Hurricane Sandy: Twitter, Facebook Last Resort for News as Power, Cable Go Dead
Residents turn to social media to communicate with the outside world: "First time I'm in the dark in nyc in a long time," NBC News' Richard Engel tweets.
With much of New York City dark as Hurricane Sandy pummels the East Coast, residents are turning to their cell phones.
Authorities issued an alert for residents of the city to stay indoors just before the storm wiped out cable TV -- and then all power -- in many boroughs while water surged in the streets and flooded tunnels. (Among the areas affected by the power outage are Tribeca, the East Village, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Battery Park.)
CNN's Anderson Cooper was forced to anchor his show by cell phone after his satellite truck went down.
And he's not the only one relying solely on a cell phone -- apparently the only technology still working in some areas of New York -- to relay news and updates about the situation.
Twitter and Facebook are lighting up with messages -- and photos -- from New Yorkers without power, both seeking information and sharing their own experiences with others.
Brian Stelter of The New York Times tweeted that "television crews in NYC are having a very hard time broadcasting. Some are being pulled off the streets by their bosses."
WNBC reporter Ida Siegal noted that she was essentially stranded in a tweet sent out Monday night.
"Trapped in #batteryparkcity surrounded by flooded streets. Trying to find a way out now. Might have to abandon the truck," she wrote.
"Power out in lower manhattan, first time I'm in the dark in nyc in a long time," added NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel.
"Whole east side of Manhattan just went black after a huge explosion. Empire State Building still lit," wrote Joanna Simkin, tweeting out a picture showing just that. (See another one above.)
Added Billboard's Bill Werde: "NY1 just went black mid-sentence. Still not on a couple minutes later. That's seriously chilling. #sandy #endtimes"
Bloggers Tom + Lorenzo also chimed in: "The entire block behind us is in the dark. It's just a matter of time before we lose power again."
Added Nola Weinstein: "The power has gone out in Greenwich Village but we've got an abundance of candles and wine to keep us going."
Meanwhile, a few made light of the situation.
Tweeted Nick Buongiovanni: "Hurricane Sandy, you may have taken my Internet, TV, and electricity....but you will never take my pants."
Jen Statsky joked about her reliance on electronics with screens: "TV and Internet just went out in apartment. Turns out I have a boyfriend and he also lives here??"
Elsewhere, Jersey Shore star Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi shared her plans for the evening with her fiance and new baby: "Lap top DVD, fireplace Lorenzo & jionni. #lightsout #sandy." She also tweeted a link to photo showing the scene at their home.
However, it's not just the dark city that's spooking people, only two days before Halloween.
Edelman NYC publicist Lauren Pavlick noted: "I feel like I'm in Venice. No longer streets, just rivers. Thankful apartment is on second floor and we still have power."
And screenwriter Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli) tweeted out a TV screen grab of the Hoboken subway being flooded, while another, Ana Andjelic, shared a photo of Jane's Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park completely surrounded by water -- both photos reminiscent of something out of a weather-disaster movie a la The Day After Tomorrow. (Watch video of the Battery Tunnel being flooded, via New York's WJZ, below.)
A YouTube video posted Monday, later rebroadcast on CNN, shows the explosion of the Con Ed plant explosion that led to the power outage (see below).
Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether the cell phone towers also will be affected -- which would effectively leave New York residents cut off from the rest of the world.