Story by: 10 News San Diego

SAN DIEGO – Florida will be slammed by back-to-back hurricanes.

At least that’s the exercise scenario being played out across the nation.Some 5,000 people from around the country, including some from the armed forces, are taking part in a disaster exercise and students at San Diego State’s Visualization Lab are playing a key role.

“You can’t do anything today without the media and the public looking at it,” said Don Miles an exercise coordinator.

To that end, some two dozen students are using social media and role playing to challenge those who would manage such a disaster.

“There will be officials on the ground but they can’t be everywhere at the same time, that’s where monitoring social media comes in,” Miles said.

Adding drama to the weekend long exercise, real tweets are being monitored from disaster stricken Moore, Oklahoma. A similar exercise already proved beneficial during hurricane Sandy.

Eric Frost, director of the Viz Lab, said a former student helped city leaders in New York coordinate emergency responses as the social media director.

“She knew what to do because she had done it in this setting and got the right information to the right people,” Frost said.