For Whom Isabel Tolls

Online weather-watchers were in full-force as Hurricane Isabel swept its way toward the East Coast of the United States, according to Web site measurements. Making its debut at #13 on the Lycos 50 for the week ending September 13, 2003, Isabel is the fourth hurricane to make the list. 2002’s Hurricane Lili ranked #7; Hurricane Debby was #13 in 2000; and 1999’s Hurricane Floyd made it to #1.

Nielsen//NetRatings found that the Weather Channel site had the most unique visitors, but Weather Underground had the fastest growing daily traffic.


Fastest Growing Weather Sites, U.S., at Home
Site 9/10 Unique Audience 9/17 Unique Audience Growth
Weather Underground 134,000* 258,000 92%
Weather Channel 1,125,000 1,969,000 75%
AccuWeather 207,000 349,000 69%
WeatherBug 303,000 455,000 50%
Source: * Indicates traffic for the week did not meet minimum sample size standards.
Projected and average measures for the site may exhibit large changes week to
week as a result.
Source: Nielsen//NetRatings

Hitwise saw traffic to environment-related sites increase by 90 percent in the weeks since September 6, 2003. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) Web site climbed up to the first position in the Lifestyle: Environment category, increasing its market share of U.S. visits since September 13th by 40 percent. The site is also ranked second in Hitwise’s Federal Government category.

Equally impressive is the traffic surge to Hurricane Terrapin which moved up 4,451 places on Hitwise’s list of highly trafficked sites, increasing market share by 56 percent. Visits to the National Weather Service: Eastern Region Headquarters have also increased by 56 percent since September 13th.

For those tracking the traffic to sites tracking the weather, Hitwise found that on September 13th, the majority of traffic to the NHC came from related weather and news Web sites (53 percent) and government sites (23 percent). After visiting the NHC, 13 percent of visitors went to the Geostationary Satellite Server, and 9 percent went to the NOAA Satellites & Information Web site.

Safety was an issue for the roughly 60,000 concerned residents who clicked on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Web site on September 18, 2003, representing an increase of more than 500 percent from its four week average, according to analysis from comScore.

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