Hitwise today reports that UK traffic to weather and environmental sites has surged in the wake of the US hurricane disaster.
Weather.com and National Geographic sites spike as disaster unfolds
Following news that President Bush had declared a state of emergency for the state of Louisiana on August 28th in response to the impact of Hurricane Katrina, UK internet users flocked to online weather sites to view the latest updates on the disaster, whilst searches on ‘Hurricane Katrina’ have grown 9-fold in the past week.
UK visits to the US website of The Weather Channel, www.weather.com, increased by 27% between Saturday 27th and Monday 29th August. The second most popular downstream destination for visitors to www.weather.com was the homepage of the US-based ABC News (www.abcnews.com), which provided real-time updates on the disaster as it unfolded.
In addition, UK traffic to the Hitwise Lifestyle - Environment category saw a significant surge as UK internet users struggled to comprehend the implications of the disaster for global weather conditions, including global warming. From August 27th to the 29th, traffic to sites in the Environment category surged by 15%. In particular, market share for the website of National Geographic (www.nationalgeographic.com) saw a pronounced spike, with traffic surging 42% from August 27th to August 31st. This increase followed on from news that the environmental publication had predicted the impact of the Katrina disaster in its October 2004 issue.
Support galvanises for American Red Cross as disaster worsens
While traffic to environment and lifestyle sites has tapered off somewhat since the height of the disaster last week, the weight of visits to related charity sites has continued to grow as the seriousness of the situation in New Orleans and surrounding areas has become more apparent. The official website of the American Red Cross (www.redcross.org) yesterday was the fourth most visited website in the Community - Humanitarian category, and experienced a sixteen-fold increase on its pre-hurricane share of internet visits, and almost four times the traffic it received on Tuesday August 30th.