Flood proved worth of electronic media

Duluth was treated to Mother Nature’s softer side during Grandma’s Marathon weekend — so much so that the News Tribune pointed it out in the headline of a follow-up story Monday.

People interacted with the Duluth News Tribune via Twitter throughout the week of flooding in Duluth. (Jimmy Bellamy / jbellamy@duluthnews.com)

What she brought out for an encore, though, few could have predicted.

The storms and subsequent flooding that ravaged Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin painted a picture of chaos across its beautiful landscape: cars under water, roads crumbled, bridges decimated, homes’ basements resembling fish tanks.

The road to restoration will be long, no doubt, but these are the trials that bring out the best in humankind. Video camera in tow, while documenting the devastation in Moose Lake, the overwhelming spirit, optimism and positivity of its residents stood out more than the cold, murky water through which I waded.

Like any maelstrom event with wide public interest, the storm and flood brought out the best in the News Tribune newsroom. Fellow multimedia editor Andrew Krueger provided a Herculian effort that began with the creation of a severe-weather live blog on Tuesday that he kept watch over well into Wednesday morning. His all-hands-on-deck e-mail to newsroom staff shortly after 3 a.m. triggered what since has been nonstop coverage and updates at every turn.

People flocked to duluthnewstribune.com, our Facebook page, Twitter feed and our — most-recent addition — iPad app for the latest news, photos, videos and chatter about road closures, relief efforts and everything related to the massive storms and floods.

Our Twitter handle — @duluthnews — jumped from roughly 4,300 followers to more than 5,100 in a 24-hour period between Wednesday and Thursday, and our Facebook page increased by more than 1,000 “likes” to just under 5,000 in the same timeframe. Each has been an interactive platform that leads to even more information on our website.

The News Tribune iPad app, which can be downloaded free from the app store on an iPad, is another way for you to stay in touch with us any time.

When things have looked the worst, we’ve been there. And we’ll be with you throughout every step of this recovery.

Jimmy Bellamy is a News Tribune multimedia editor. He may be reached at jbellamy@duluthnews.com and on Twitter and Facebook. This post originally appeared on duluthnewstribune.com.