Would you like a text message from the Sentinel the next time a tsunami is headed toward Santa Cruz?
We’ve added a significant news alert option for readers. We’ll only use it for breaking news likely to affect most Santa Cruz County residents.
Here’s how to sign up. Go to our mobile edition sign-up page. Enter your phone number, confirm, and you’re in. We expect to send messages maybe once a month with the biggest stories to affect the area – fires, earthquakes, significant public safety issues, huge traffic snarls. You can cancel any time.
We also offer daily weather reports and we’ll add more categories in the future, but we wanted to offer readers this option now.
When the tsunami headed our way, the initial warning went out near midnight. Everyone in Santa Cruz County woke up and had to figure out how to deal with the tsunami. People in low-lying areas were warned by reverse 911 calls.
As we do with breaking news that affects most of the county, we opened a live conversation for sharing information and asking and answering questions. Parents with students at UCSC quickly learned that the campus was in no danger.
Updates were shared throughout the day, with thousands of posts through the coveritlive conversation.
When the first wave hit, one of our photo interns, Larissa Mueller, sent us video from her iPhone. We were among the first to post video of the event and the first surge was pretty minor. Earlier in the week, we had connected our Brightcove account with our YouTube account, so that video we post to Sentinel.com also automatically gets posted to YouTube as well.
Since Friday, our YouTube account has received nearly 300,000 page views. Reader Ryan Beauregard sent us his video (“Holy Crap!”) on Friday afternoon, showing the bigger surge through the harbor. That video has received more than 150,000 views.
Our website received more traffic on Friday than it had for any other news event (369,000 page views).
We also made the first significant use of our Flickr photo stream during the event and received another 30,000 views there.
Thanks to all who clicked, joined the conversation, sent us photos and video, and who shared and received information through our services.
When there’s an earthquake felt in Santa Cruz County, we’ll have immediate updates on our site.
The best place for information is the U.S. Geological Survey page with live reports of all earthquakes in the area. We also display a live USGS widget on our earthquake page, which includes informational links, latest stories and a ton of content related to the Loma Prieta quake in 1989.