Computer geek extraordinaire Yobie Benjamin just launched Emicus, a community-powered emergency information system that integrates weather data with real-time reports from real people via twitter, blogs, SMS and iPhone. The fledgling system will be put to the test this week as not one but three major storms hit the Atlantic.
Yobie explains the purpose of the website in SFgate:
When we started Emicus.com, our focus was to prevent the horrors of Hurricane Katrina from ever happening again. We were ambitious -- in fact extremely ambitious because we believe in the power of social media and the basic goodness of people and that we could build a system to actually deliver real-time web information to save lives, prevent injuries and mitigate property loss ... If we save one life, we have met our goal.
For an animated description of different wind speeds and what they do, check out NPR's cool interactive feature:
UPDATE 8/19: Emicus is now predicting a shocking conclusion for Hurricane Bill - that the storm will actually strike the Eastern Seaboard, possibly near Washington, D.C. Let's see how the prediction turns out.