CASE STUDY ONE  Hurricane Floyd   Wednesday, 20 February 2002




Reason for choosing this chatroom.

The first chatroom I will examine in this study of conversation in chatrooms is a chatroom which was set up for Hurricane Floyd. I chose this chatroom as it had a more specific reason for participator’s involvement than most general chatrooms do. I hoped to find differences in how people relate in an emergency than as they do in other social settings. One of my research hypothesis for this thesis is that people create a different 'textual self' for each environment they are in, and that we should not continue to regard all electronic textual practices as equal. [A question arises whether the speaker makes the chatroom or does the chatroom create the speaker? Just as in real life, talk parallels an environment. For example, one speaks differently at a church supper than at a brothel).


Background to Hurricane Floyd (more information about Floyd is available via chapter one bibliography)


On Sept. 15, 1999, a one-two punch combination of hurricanes hit North Carolina. Earlier, Hurricane Dennis jabbed once at the Carolina coast before doubling back and coming ashore as Tropical Storm Dennis on Sept. 5, packing torrential rains and 70 mile-per-hour winds.  Then came the knockout punch—Hurricane Floyd—ten days later.


Floyd was a large and intense Cape Verde hurricane that pounded the central and northern Bahama

islands, seriously threatened Florida, struck the coast of North Carolina and moved up the United States east coast into New England. It neared the threshold of category five intensity on the Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Scale as it approached the Bahamas, and produced a flood disaster of immense proportions in the eastern United States, particularly in North Carolina.


South Carolina’s governor Gov. Jim Hodges ordered a mandatory evacuation of as many as 800,000 people in coastal areas NEW SITE = JULY 2014 - - Today as Hurricane Floyd aimed for South Carolina's coast, just a week shy of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Hugo's destructive run through the state.


Charleston South Carolina’s Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. said that the entire city had to be evacuated, anticipating the eyewall of the storm passing over the metropolitan area.


It has been reported than up to a million people were evacuating the US East coast.  During this time I followed one particular chat which covered about a two hour period.  There were 45 ‘speakers’ speaking in 279 turns.  The raw data for this chat is at


This weather satellite image

of Hurricane Floyd, from

September 15, 1999, shows  the

immense size of the storm,

stretching from Florida to Canada.

The storm  just off the Atlantic coast,

producing severe flooding in

North Carolina and Virginia,

and heavy rains and localized flooding

in most Mid-Atlantic States.

(Image by Hal Pierce, NASA

GSFC Visualization Analysis Lab,

based on data from NOAA)




·       the chatroom for storms for 2001 is at

· chats

·       FEMA = the federal emergency management agency


other Hurricane Floyd sites

·       floyd index

·       floydhelp

·       Hurricane Floyd  Message Board

·       Hurricane Floyd Information

·       Mandatory evacuation of as many as 800,000 people ordered

·       Photos of Floyd


<METHODOLOGY for Hurricane Floyd / Case Study 1






This a work in process by Terrell Neuage for a Ph.D at the University of South Australia