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Hurricane 'My Name Is Earl' puts cloud over Twitter-land

By Elizabeth Chuck, msnbc.com

The mood on Twitter matches the weather today: Stormy.

A quick search for some keywords we're not allowed to print here (read: "Hurricane Earl" and any curse word you can think of) returns a plethora of tweets as the Category 4 storm heads toward the Eastern Seaboard. Earl's ruining weddings. Earl's ruining birthdays. Earl's even ruining one woman's news-reading experience: "Got to love all those hurricane verbs the MSM [mainstream media] throws out: 'churning' 'barreling' 'bearing down' 'roars' 'swirling' 'rolls'," tweets @Laracchapman.

But as Earl roared – er, made its way – toward North Carolina's Outer Banks, twitterers also expressed concern for loved ones in the area, urging them to follow evacuation orders. As for the people who have to evacuate themselves: Well, let's just say many of them fall under the curse-laden tweets category.

Then there are the TV jokes. With all the twitterers who have decided to refer to the storm as "Hurricane My Name Is Earl," TBS must be appreciative for the publicity bump for the show's reruns: "If I was still in N.C. I'd be the idiot on the beaches of the Outer Banks with the boom box blaring the theme to 'My Name Is Earl,'" tweets @redneck_trash. And @unclekilroy makes this point, playing off the Southern, less-than-favorable attributes of the TV show's title character: "'My name is Earl. And I'm fixin to put a hurt on you!' Figures the hurricane striking the south has a redneck-esque name!"

"The Earl Cometh," tweets @whatman75 in this Twitpic.

Still others have fears unrelated to the hurricane: "OhMyGosh! I was watching 'My Name Is Earl' and a fly hit my eyebrow and I started freaking out," tweeted @HellosPerson last night. No follow-ups on the fly-eyebrow situation were tweeted, so we're still waiting with bated breath for an update.

As for news-you-can-use tweets, federal emergency administrator @CraigatFEMA is tweeting all things hurricane preparedness, from how to protect your boat to how to communicate vital information with friends and family ahead of the storm. Food safety specialist @benjaminchapman is sharing how to keep your kitchen stocked in the event of a power outage, and @RedCross is encouraging evacuees to register on their "safe and well website" and tweeting information about shelters, traffic information and feeding trucks.

Keep checking msnbc.com and our hurricane tracker for the latest on Hurricane Earl as it churns, barrels, bears down, rolls and swirls through the Atlantic.

Whew. Thanks for letting us get all of those hurricane verbs out of our mainstream-media system, @Laracchapman.