Turn on the television and you might think you’re having déjà vu. Memories of the terrible storm Sandy aren’t far off in the minds of many on the east coast, and now a new storm is on the way. Winter storm Nemo is set to start dumping tons of snow and bring heavy winds Friday and into Saturday. What sort of role will social media play during this potentially historic storm?

Nemo (Probably) Not a Joke

I don’t want to get too predictive here in calling Nemo the biggest storm ever, but as Anthony Castellano writes for ABC news, “a blizzard of possibly historic proportions is set to strike the Northeast.” Historic proportions is not something you hear every day. Of course, it doesn’t help that I am dead in the middle of where the historic storm is set to hit hardest, in Boston.

Nemo is set to affect over 50 million people as it moves up the east coast. That’s a lot of people who could possibly be facing dangerous situations. What is even more disturbing than the calls for two feet of snow is, as John Newland reports for NBC News, “the weather service warned that the storm would be accompanied by winds almost as powerful as those packed by a hurricane.”

Strong winds and tons of snow could mean a lot of people cut off from electricity and other modern conveniences. Hopefully cell service stays intact throughout this, as it may be the only way people have to connect with others.

Connecting and Communication During Nemo

During Sandy, social media – especially Twitter – played a huge role in emergency relief efforts. It also helped people stay sane and entertained while they still had power on their mobile devices or in their homes.

If I lose power, I know I’ll be relying on my phone to keep in touch with others (aka stay sane if the power goes out) and also get updates about the storm and any other regional information. Twitter works perfectly for that and you can bet eastern seaboard states have been getting ready to utilize social media to its fullest during this potentially historic storm.

Opportunity for Business, Too

During Sandy we got to see how well emergency services and people used social media and Twitter to communicate and help one another. We also saw some brands make good use of social media to share messages of concern, and even help in their own way.

Winter storm Nemo is going to be a good chance for businesses to connect with their customers and people on the east coast in a meaningful way. Some people will not be nearly as affected by the storm as others, but everyone is going to be paying attention to it.

Expect to see thoughtful and helpful tweets and posts from big brands and local businesses. The storm could also be a good chance to run promotions or other campaigns to raise money for cleanup or emergency efforts if the storm lives up to its potential.

I know I’ll be sitting tight here in Boston hoping the storm isn’t as bad as everyone says it is. Hopefully I don’t have to rely on my phone as my only access to the outside world, but if I do, at least I’ll have social media to keep me company.

How is your business preparing for Nemo?