Storms of a feather tweet together: An exploratory study examining Houston-area emergency management communication on Twitter in Hurricane Harvey




risk communication, weather, social media, hurricanes, emergency management


The 2017 hurricane season was particularly troublesome in the Atlantic Ocean Basin. Two storms in particular—Hurricanes Harvey and Irma—severely affected the southeastern United States and Gulf Coast, causing over $175 billion in damage and killing over 200 people. This study seeks to examine Twitter content that emerged from a Houston-area emergency management account during Hurricane Harvey. Specific emphasis is placed on the quantity of emergency management retweets, linguistic characteristics and similarities, and the emergence of opinion leaders in this disaster discussion. Results are discussed with respect to future risk communication in weather events, in addition to comparing with other recent disasters.

Author Biographies

Adam M. Rainear, PhD

Department of Communication and Media, West Chester University, West Chester, Pennsylvania

Kenneth Lachlan, PhD

Department of Communication, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut

Zhan Xu, PhD

School of Communication, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona


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How to Cite

Rainear, PhD, A. M., K. Lachlan, PhD, and Z. Xu, PhD. “Storms of a Feather Tweet Together: An Exploratory Study Examining Houston-Area Emergency Management Communication on Twitter in Hurricane Harvey”. Journal of Emergency Management, vol. 20, no. 1, Jan. 2022, pp. 53-60, doi:10.5055/jem.0685.