Technology helps those in Milwaukee connect with Gulf Coast

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MILWAUKEE -- The eye of Hurricane Isaac was over southeastern Louisiana Tuesday evening, August 28th after making landfall, the National Hurricane Center reports. As the storm made landfall in the Gulf Coast, some in the Milwaukee area were trying to stay in touch with loved ones down south -- and using technology to do so.

Serena Pollack lived in New Orleans for five years, following Hurricane Katrina and knows just how debilitating a storm like Isaac can be. Pollack is staying in contact with loved ones and using FaceTime, a feature on her cell phone to check in. Pollack's friend and two kids are hunkered down in New Orleans.

"We're about 24 hours into this lockdown period. It's blowing pretty hard at the moment. We brought in all the patio furniture so it wouldn't be a projectile. We have plenty of food and ice and a gas stove," Pollack's friend said, via FaceTime.

Being able to see the conditions has been reassuring to Pollack. Her friend says smart phones and social media are playing a major role as loved ones look to reach out to those in the path of the storm.

"Even local officials are tweeting information and putting things on Facebook," Pollack's friend said.

While Pollack and her friend keep in touch through modern technology, others are doing it the old school way. Bill Howe is a ham operator and is standing by in West Bend. Ham operation, also known as amateur radio, is a hobby that involves using various types of radio communications equipment to connect with other people who share similar interests. Howe says storms like Isaac can be devastating, and amateur radio volunteers can play a vital role in recovery.

"We'll be listening in to see if we can respond, and see what we can do to help out. It's called the Health and Welfare Net," Howe said.

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