The United States, including its territories in the Caribbean, has been affected by three major hurricanes this season. The graph above shows that Google users in the United States paid closer attention to Hurricane Irma than to Hurricanes Harvey or Maria. Data for this graph was collected using Google Trends.
It is not surprising that Hurricane Irma received the most attention. Once the world’s media reported on Barbuda’s and St. Martin’s destruction after Irma’s passing, people in the Caribbean and the U.S. Southeast started to take the hurricane very seriously. Hurricane Irma’s eye wall spared most of Puerto Rico, but Vieques, Culebra and the U.S. Virgin Islands were not as lucky.
Although Hurricane Maria was likely the most destructive of the three storms, Irma affected the most people, followed by Harvey. Given that Google Trends counts the amount of searches Google users make, it seems logical that the hurricane that affects the most people is also the one that receives the most attention.
Could another reason explain the differences between Google users’ interest? What about the U.S. media’s interest? Did media’s coverage of these three hurricane mirror Google searches? We will explore this in another post. What do you think? Feel free to share your views.