Hyperlocal|August 30, 2011| Author: Kim LaCapria|Tags: ,

Patch Gets Boost From Hurricane Irene

Patch Map

The biggest story across the Eastern seaboard this weekend- and to a degree elsewhere- was the deadly and much-hyped Hurricane Irene.

As the storm swept through the region, the clamor for hyperlocal information began- particularly given the localized nature of the danger. While some areas saw minor inclement conditions, other were beset with massive flooding, bridge and road collapses and downed power lines. And as the storm hit, locals were able to get some of the targeted information they sought through AOL’s Patch.

The struggling property was quick to assert its relevance during the storm (updates from my own local Patch came regularly during the event here in New York) and Editor Brian Farnham said feedback from users during and after Irene was positive and consistent- although even he seemed a bit surprised:

“With wall-to-wall storm coverage on seemingly every channel, it may seem odd that Patch, too, proved to be so necessary to communities affected by Irene… But over and over again we heard the same thing from our users in these regions: ‘Patch was our essential source for information during the hurricane.’ After all, whether winds added up to Cat 1 or Cat 2 or ‘just’ a tropical storm doesn’t matter as much to people as whether their town is flooded or when their power will come back on.”

While events like Hurricane Irene will likely be Patch’s bread and butter, it will be interesting to see if the network can achieve the traffic necessary to keep it afloat before it burns through much more of AOL’s cash.