Home TECH & SCIENCE As Tropical Storm Harvey hits Houston, locals document the worst of it...

As Tropical Storm Harvey hits Houston, locals document the worst of it on Snapchat

The app’s new feature Snap Maps lets you see videos from anyone — including people trapped by torrential flooding.

Harvey — the hurricane-turned-tropical-storm sweeping across Texas — has led to at least five deaths since it made landfall Friday night, and the flooding in Houston has been so intense that people who stayed put have been trapped in their houses.

And some of them are documenting the chaos on Snapchat.

Peter Hamby, the former CNN correspondent now heading news at Snap, called attention to the Houston Snap Map on Twitter. Maps are a relatively new location-sharing feature that lets you find your friends, or strangers whose posts are public.

In the app, Snap’s editors regularly feature big news events — for example, the “Anti-Racist” rally in San Francisco, or “The Fight” in Las Vegas yesterday. So rather than sifting through all the posts from Snapchat users in the region, you can watch a sort of highlight reel of videos about the storm, with facts about rainfall and evacuations superimposed over the screen.

Screenshot of a Snapchat video showing torrential rain during Tropical Storm Harvey
Screenshot of a Snapchat video showing flooding during Tropical Storm Harvey
Screenshot of a Snapchat video showing a trapped car during Tropical Storm Harvey

To find the Snap Maps feature, open the Snapchat app and pinch your fingers together, as if you’re zooming out of an image or a map. You can then drag the screen to see where people or posting, or just search for “Houston Flooding” to jump to the editor-curated story we screenshotted above.

As Recode’s Tony Romm reported yesterday, the wireless carriers had lobbied against modernizing emergency alerts to include things like multimedia, maps of affected areas and links to helpful resources for evacuees.

FEMA Chief Brock Long says recovering from Harvey will take years. Via HuffPost, here’s a list of places you can give money or time to help those affected by the storm.


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