What to Put Above the Fold on Your Blog, And Why

http://www.problogger.net/archives/2012/08/30/what-to-put-above-the-fold-on-your-blog-and-why/

What to Put Above the Fold on Your Blog, And Why

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Above the fold

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‘The best advice I’ve received about PR’

http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/12539.aspx

‘The best advice I’ve received about PR’

By Ronnie Manning | Posted: August 30, 2012
As public relations and marketing professionals, we’ve all received advice from savvy minds. Whether in school or early or late into your career, there is probably one nugget of advice that has stuck with you to this day.

The best piece of advice I received—and one that I still reference—came when I was fresh out of college and working at Edelman in Washington, D.C. The advice: “Public relations is a marathon, and not a sprint.”

That advice holds true today, but with the introduction of social media into our daily PR lives, the pace of the marathon has kicked up a notch. So maybe now we are running a 5K.

I was curious about the advice that has helped guide the careers of other PR practitioners, so I asked some of my industry peers to identify the best public relations advice they received and, if they met a new graduate who is about to do a cannonball into the PR pool, what would they tell them.

Here are 35 great pieces of advice—some I’ve heard, many I haven’t, most I’ll repeat:

1. “The best advice I ever got was from one of my college professors and I’ve carried it with me into my career: KISS: Keep it Simple Stupid.” – Elyse Petroni 

2. “Unless you have a weekend event, or want to purposely bury a story, never pitch the press or send out a press release on a Friday.” – Kathleen G. Berzon

3. “Best piece of advice I ever received came from a Silicon Valley venture capitalist who told me that ‘Information is Currency.’” – Jane Evans-Ryan 

4. “Always remember that I—and not my clients—run my business. I should be willing to go above and beyond to serve each client, of course. But a client with unreasonable demands is as much my fault as theirs if I don’t set reasonable boundaries and stick to them. Related to that is one other critical lesson: Sometimes, it’s OK to say ‘no.’” – Brad Phillips

5. “There isn’t one right way of achieving results (placements, mentions, social media following, etc.). You have to figure out what works for you and always be creative.” – Janice Yu

6. Never let your ego get in the way—especially if you are just out of college. It’s easy to think that a certain task is ‘beneath’ you, [but] doing these things shows that you are a team player and can take on whatever is thrown at you.” – Stephanie Yonus

7. “Media/PR world is a small world, so don’t burn any bridges.” – Daniel K. Lobring

8. “When you walk into a meeting with a client, say one smart thing and ask one smart question.” –Michele Moore

9. “During my very first PR internship, my boss emphasized the importance of being courteous toward clients and the media, especially when on the phone.” – April Harter

10. “The best piece of advice I’ve ever received was from a professor who told his students to ‘take ownership of our work.’” – Beth Parker

11. “The best piece of advice I had received from a PR trainer when I first started was: ‘We’re tellers, not sellers. As soon as a journalist smells a whiff of sales, your press release is going in the bin.’” – Vickie Chiu

12. “Don’t rely on other people tell the world how great you are. You are and will always be your own best cheerleader.” – Erica J. Sandberg

13. “Especially during these tough economic times, having the ability to help bring in new business can make you a huge asset for a company.” – Hana Bieliauskas

14. “The best PR advice I ever got was from a former manager and she often told me ‘It’s PR, not the ER.’” – Nivene Judeh

15. “The best advice I’ve received regarding PR is actually twofold: 1) tailor your message to the right audience (i.e.: don’t just blindly send out press releases to any media contact with an email address) and 2) always say thank you when something gets picked up.” – Meghan Ely

16. “Whenever something happens, the first two questions you need to ask yourself are: who do I need to tell? And who do I need to thank?” – Laura Kane

17. “The best advice I received was from my first internship and it was to ‘Write tight.’”- Rachel Esterline

18. “Always, always, always have someone proofread your work. Let me repeat this for the folks in the cheap seats, always, always, always have someone proofread your work. Do not rely on spell check because it won’t catch ‘pubic’ and ‘dead’ when you meant ‘public’ and ‘deaf.’” – Shannon Mouton

19. “Listen before you speak. And when the other person is done talking, ask if he or she has anything else to say.” – Susan Matthews

20. “The best advice I ever received was to tell ‘the story behind the story.’” – Shel Horowitz

21. “The best PR advice I received was from my Advanced Public Relations professor, “‘Tell YOUR Story and Tell it FAST!’” – Jill Morris

22. “Relationships matter above all, and that you build relationships by making yourself useful, not annoying. The PR practitioner should focus on providing helpful service to the journalist whenever possible. Help them source good story ideas, provide sources with intelligent contributions to make, thank them for their time and attention.” – Laura Fitton

23. “When you pitch your company, pitch it as if you are writing the article for the publication.” – Erik Huberman

24. “Read, read and read some more. The best way to be a strategic counselor to your clients is if you build time into your day—every day—to read about what is going on in the world. Schedule time on your calendar if you need to, but make reading a daily habit.” – Lisa Tilt

25. “Don’t get into a pissing match with someone who buys ink by the ton.” – Mark LoCastro 

26. “PR is not about spin. It’s about telling the truth well.” – Mark Grimm

27. “The best advice I have ever been given is to ‘toot your own horn because no one else is going to do it.’” – Catherine Fiehn 

28. “The best PR advice I ever received is also the most fundamental rule, ‘Always know who you are pitching beforehand.’” – Walter Ocner

29. “Public relations is a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Before new practitioners commit to an organization or even to an industry, they need to understand what that organization/industry places under the public relations umbrella.” – Alana J. Mauger

30. “Best advice I got and give is. ‘Just because someone asks you a question doesn’t mean you have to answer it.’” – Darlene Tenes

31. “Things are going to go wrong, and we’re probably going to be blamed. We just have to accept it, apologize for it, and turn it into a good thing later on.” – Meghan Williams

32. “The main ingredient is HUSTLE. No, seriously, it’s the ability and desire to passionately pitch your product to the media any time (it’s 6:53 p.m. on Friday and here I am) with the right angle, the right message and the right attitude.” – Adrian Salamunovic

33. “Tell the Truth Faster.” – Dave Phillipson

34. “Don’t say anything (on/off the record) you’d regret seeing in print.” – Marc Holloran

35. “‘Never let them see you sweat’ is some of the best advice I have gotten with regard to both the PR business and clients.” – Janet A. Fallon

And if you have any advice that isn’t listed, please feel free to add in the comment.

Ronnie Manning is the Principal for Mynt Public Relations, a technology and consumer electronics boutique agency in San Diego. Follow him on Twitter @RManning_Mynt

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Four Little Words: Media Relations Advice from Journalists to PR Pros

Four Little Words: Media Relations Advice from Journalists to PR Pros.

POSTED ON AUG 29, 2012 IN MEDIA RELATIONSPUBLIC RELATIONS | 0 COMMENTS

By Ann Revell-Pechar, Vice President, Carolinas at Arketi Group

I’ve been making my rounds again, asking journalists and bloggers what it is that PR people are doing right, and what we’re getting lazy about. It’s not that we don’t know this stuff – it’s just that the pressures of getting that proverbial ink sometimes push us to misbehave.

As I think back on their comments, there’s a strain of a chorus being written. It’s not Kumbayah, my Lord! It’s more of a shoot-‘em-up, early Dylan ballad. If we could all learn to sing, in tune and in unison or harmony, we may be able to continue holding the honor of being a Public Relations Professional.

Here are the four words that would make up the baseline of that chorus:

  1. Target. Stop blasting emails! Turns out, we’re still so anxious about getting the word out to that we’re not paying much attention to what particular journalists do or need. We’re worrying more about our ‘hits’ than about something that will make for a good piece for the writer. And if you’re planning a ‘deskside’ or press tour in, say, New York, check to see that the journalist you’re contacting is in New York… not just the headquarters for the publication.
  2. Story. Journalists write stories, right? So give them a story, not a series of acronyms or adjectives. It should be relevant and timely (no one wants an also-ran) and have character and depth. Don’t try writing War and Peace or Anna Karenina; a short, easily digestible story is best. Preferably one that’s not a fable.
  3. Respect. Respect the work they’ve done by having read some of it. Respect their audience by telling the truth. Respect their time by getting to the point of what you want right away. Don’t call to ask if they got your press release (they got it). Respect their role – if they’re a columnist, they’ll express their opinion. If their opinion doesn’t make your client/boss happy, don’t take it out on the journalist.
  4. Invest. Note that just because they didn’t respond to this story idea that they’re not interested. If it was well written they may tuck it away for future ideas.  Don’t think of your encounters as a one-off: invest in the relationship long-term. If their audience is your customer, it’s likely that at some point you’ll have a solid story for them. Don’t push… your career is long, and so is theirs.

So if you take these four little words and apply them to every opportunity you have to call a journalist, you’ll be closer to giving them what THEY need… which might ultimately give you what you need, too.

 ###

Ann Revell-Pechar is vice president and general manager of the Carolinas at Arketi Group, a public relations and digital marketing firm that helps business-to-business technology organizations accelerate growth through intelligent strategy, public relations, messaging, branding and demand generation. Consistently recognized by BtoB magazine as one of the nation’s “Top BtoB Agencies,” Arketi helps its clients use marketing to generate revenue. To view all company blogs visit here, and for more information call Ann at 919-909-1097.

14

Mobilizing for Isaac

Mobilizing for Isaac

http://american.redcross.org/site/MessageViewer?em_id=13233.0&dlv_id=16149

Disaster Update
American Red Cross Mobilizing for Isaac
     
 
Hurricane Isaac
 
Click Here for Hurricane Readiness Tips
 

Dear Friend, 

As you read this message, more than 15 million people are now under warnings from Hurricane Isaac. With just hours until the storm hits land, many are gathering their loved ones and seeking shelter. 

If there’s one thing we learned from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, it’s that being prepared is absolutely critical to saving lives in an emergency. If you and your loved ones are at risk from Isaac, please click here to learn more about how you can get ready and stay safe during the storm.

Isaac is expected to cause severe flooding in the Gulf Coast region – so right now, the Red Cross is mobilizing to respond. With help from committed supporters like you, we’ve alreadyassigned nearly 2,400 disaster workers to states in the storm’s path, delivered more than 500,000 ready-to-eat meals and disaster supplies to affected communities, and put dozens of emergency shelters and vehicles in the region on alert. 

After a difficult summer of helping millions of people struck by wildfires, heat waves and floods, our resources are stretched thin. We must be able to provide immediate food, shelter, emotional support and other assistance for every family and individual who needs it in the days to come – and we’re relying on your support to make it happen. 

We need you to ensure that our hurricane response is as strong as ever – please give now and help provide critical supplies and services to families and individuals in their time of need.

Thank you so much for your time and support. I’ll be back in touch as the storm progresses. 

Sincerely, 


Charley Shimanski
Sr. Vice President, Disaster Services
American Red Cross
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P.S. Please consider these additional resources for staying safe: Safe and Well is a website that lets your family and friends know you’re safe, or where you can search for loved ones. TheNational Shelter System is a Google search map showing open Red Cross shelters.

 
 
 
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How New Orleans is using social media to prepare for Hurricane Isaac

http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/12519.aspx

How New Orleans is using social media to prepare for Hurricane Isaac

By Matt Wilson | Posted: August 27, 2012
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According to The Weather Channel, Tropical Storm Isaac will make its landfall on the northern shore of the Gulf of Mexico sometime Tuesday.

With Hurricane Katrina still fresh in the minds of many in that region, particularly residents of New Orleans, preparedness is the name of the game for big storms such as Isaac. That’s why the city has set up a NOLA Ready website and Twitter account to get information out as it becomes available.

“If the storm does something incredibly crazy, we will react to that, but at this moment there is no plan to evacuate the City of #NOLA,” one tweet announced Monday, followed by this quote from Mayor Mitch Landrieu:

“If you plan to leave, you feel comfortable leaving and you have a place to go, don’t wait. Now would be a good time to go.”

New Orleans officials were, quite understandably, unavailable Monday (a call to City Hall resulted in a busy signal), but local communications professionals mostly said city and state social media efforts in the face of the emergency have been handled well.

What they’re doing right

“The updates are engaging, informative, and timely,” says Sara Estes Cohen, an emergency response and social media strategist in New Orleans. “The profiles also respond to questions and statements easily and quickly.”

Some of the direct responses to citizens have come from the mayor’s Twitter account, often with the intent of correcting misinformation. The NOLA Ready account has mostly been answering questionsabout closings and transit changes.

Estes Cohen particularly says the state’s Twitter account for the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness has stayed on top of things well.

“I’ve also noticed that most parishes have mentioned their social media accounts on the news this morning and have been encouraging viewers to sign up for notifications, to check websites, etc.,” she says.

Tripp Frohlichstein of MediaMasters Training says the social media accounts are doing a really nice job of sharing links to information.

“This is great for a large percentage of people in the area,” he says. “However, it must be remembered that there are large numbers of people that don’t have access to social media, or simply don’t use it. So it is important they also use traditional electronic media to keep people updated.”

Jeff Zehnder of New Orleans-based Zehnder Communications says the mayor’s office has done “a stellar job” coordinating communications with parish and state officials to get information out through social media. He adds that the availability of social channels makes it much easier to spread word of what’s happening now, compared with when Katrina hit in 2005.

Potential missteps

Though the city’s social media efforts are thorough, Frohlichstein says they could be a little more personal.

“Perhaps it is implied, but I think it would enhance the efforts of the local and state governments to note that everything they are doing is to keep people safe,” he says.

For example, Frohlichstein points to a tweet from the governor’s emergency preparedness office:

“Gov @BobbyJindal: Authorized activation of up to 4,000 LA Nat’l Guardsmen if necessary for #Isaac; 700 fulltime Guardsmen working today.”

It should maybe read more like this:

“Gov @BobbyJindal: Authorized activation of up to 4,000 LA Nat’l Guardsmen if necessary for #Isaac to make sure we keep people safe and protect their property; 700 fulltime Guardsmen working today.” (That does exceed Twitter’s 140-character limit, but the point Frohlichstein raises is one of tone.)

Communications strategist and former CBS News correspondent David Henderson, who bloggedabout Isaac on Sunday, says he sees the NOLA Ready site and the Twitter accounts as mostly self-serving.

“The [NOLA Ready] website is too wordy, too generic, and too politically correct by presenting all the press releases of the various politicians,” he says. “It seems more about the local politicians than an emergency service for residents.”

Same goes for the Twitter accounts, Henderson opines. Most New Orleans residents will be getting their news by radio.

“Internet penetration in the region is considerably below the national norm, and social media, including Twitter, is even less effective for reaching people in the area,” he says.

Another problem? The NOLA Ready has some information available only in PDF form, which is a sure way no one will read it, Henderson asserts.

Internal emergency comms

What about how businesses in the storm’s path are communicating with employees? SAS doesn’t have any offices directly in Isaac’s immediate path, but it’s seen its share of big storms with offices in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas.

“As long as it is a life-safety event, all communications are handled by our safety and security team,” says Becky Graebe, SAS’s internal communications manager. “There are communication tools in place for them to automatically post alerts to our intranet home page as a top-of-screen banner. The security team also has an Emergency Notification System that can be used to notify employees in that specific location.”

After the storm, earthquake, or other event is over, communicators post regular updates to the company’s Employee Voices blog and invite employees to offer support, she says.

Matt Wilson is a staff writer for Ragan.com.

Apple vs. Samsung: Three possible outcomes

http://money.cnn.com/2012/08/24/technology/apple-samsung/index.html

Apple vs. Samsung: Three possible outcomes

By David Goldman @CNNMoneyTech August 24, 2012: 8:42 AM ET

Do these phones look too similar? That could be a billion-dollar decision for Apple and Samsung.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — An epic patent battle involving the world’s two largest technology companies and some of the most popular gadgets on the market now rests with nine jurors in California.

A verdict could come any time, but given the case’s complexity, few expect a decision before the middle of next week. No matter how the jury decides, the fight won’t be over. The companies are virtually guaranteed to appeal the rulings they lost.

Still, it’s possible to suss out a few of the most likely outcomes and their consequences. Here are three ways it could go down.

Apple wins outright

The key to an Apple (AAPL,Fortune 500) victory seems to be what’s in plain sight.

Apple says Samsung infringed on four of its design patents and three software patents. There’s no doubt that many of the Samsung gadgets in question look very similar to Apple’s iGizmos. Even U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh admitted that Samsung’s Galaxy tablet appeared “virtually indistinguishable” from the iPad.

A number of experts tracking the courtroom action think Apple made a strong case.

“I have been surprised that Samsung seems to have been on the defensive so much,” said Mark McKenna, a law professor and intellectual property specialist at the University of Notre Dame.

Any edge Apple gains could turn into a decisive victory.

In nearly three-quarters of patent cases, the jury decides in favor of the same party on all the issues, according to Alex Poltorak, CEO of the General Patent Corp., an industry consulting firm. He thinks it’s unlikely that the jury will go into the fine details point by point.

“The dynamics of jury deliberation generally are about finding who is the good guy and who is the bad guy,” Poltorak said. “More likely than not, Samsung will be found to have ripped off Apple’s design, and therefore the jury will rule on all issues in favor of Apple.”

Related story: 19 incredible Apple secrets revealed in court

Losing could be very expensive for Samsung: Apple is seeking as much as $2.5 billion in damages. Samsung has enough cash, though, to withstand the blow. It earned $12 billion last year and has $14 billion cash in the bank.

If Apple sweeps the board, legal and technology experts widely agree that the smartphone landscape will be shaken up, particularly for Google’s Android ecosystem. Samsung is the largest manufacturer of Android devices.

“Other manufacturers could be sued for similar software infringements, which means Google (GOOGFortune 500) has to make sure its Android interface doesn’t infringe,” said Jefferson Wang, mobile consultant at services firm IBB. “That means wireless carriers would have to start worrying about whether Android is a viable ecosystem.”

A design-patent infringement ruling could also force smartphone and tablet makers to retool their designs.

“If Apple wins, competitors will have to stay away from how close Samsung got to Apple’s products,” said Chris Carani, a design patent attorney at McAndrews, Held & Malloy. “They will have to create products that are distinct from Apple.”

Apple could also request an injunction against the Samsung devices that were found to have infringed Apple’s patents. That means those gadgets could be forced to stay off the market until they are tweaked.

Samsung wins outright

Samsung is counter-suing Apple, saying the tech giant violated five of its own software patents. If Samsung wins, the stakes are much lower.

The patents that Samsung is disputing are considered “non-essential.” Forcing major changes or even having an injunction granted against the iPhone or iPad is extremely unlikely, according to Poltorak. What’s more probable is that Apple would be forced to license those patents from Samsung for a small amount of money per iPhone sold.

The most striking blow Samsung could deal is if the jury rules that Apple’s patents are invalid, Carani said.

Apple will likely continue its legal crusade against Android — it has lost some high-profile patent cases before, and it hasn’t been deterred. But if its patents are invalidated, some of the wind would be taken out of its sails.

Experts doubt Samsung will win all of its battles, though. What’s much more likely is a split decision.

A mixed verdict

The jury’s task is extremely complicated. Judge Koh issued 109 pages of instructions, complete with 84 separate directives on how to fill out a 20-page verdict form that includes 36 multi-part questions. It’s like the most nightmarish multiple-choice test imaginable.

Among the many issues the jurors need to sort out is which — if any — patents were violated by each of Samsung’s 26 smartphones and two tablets, as well as three of Apple’s iPhones, the iPad 2 and the iPod Touch.

If the jury finds in favor of Apple on some patents and in favor of Samsung on others, all bets are off. No one can really predict what a mixed ruling means, though some think it would jump-start the industry’s creativity.

“If a split decision happens, most sides are going to have to be more careful with innovation,” said Wang, the IBB consultant. “The industry will accelerate new designs that are different from the rectangular slabs out there today.”

However the dice land, the final outcome of the Apple-Samsung showdown will ripple throughout the tech industry for years. To top of page

First Published: August 24, 2012: 6:49 AM ET

Storm Gains Strength Moving Toward Coast

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/27/us/tropical-storm-isaac-gains-strength-moving-toward-keys.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120827

Storm Gains Strength Moving Toward Coast

Angel Valentin for The New York Times

Mike Harden, left, and Anthony Parducci boarded up a store in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., on Sunday.

By 
Published: August 26, 2012
TAMPA, Fla. — As Tropical Storm Isaac churned into the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, South Florida managed to dodge the worst of it. But the fast-moving storm appeared poised to swell into a hurricane and hit land on Wednesday between the Florida Panhandle and New Orleans.

Much of the areas along the Gulf Coast, including New Orleans, which was ravaged seven years ago to the week by Hurricane Katrina, received either tropical storm or hurricane warnings on Sunday, and the governors of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama declared states of emergency in anticipation of the storm.

The Florida Keys, which were the first land mass in the United States to feel the system’s impact, barely shuddered as the storm sideswiped them with rain and occasional bursts of sharp wind; residents along the chain of islands, long accustomed to storms, were mostly unfazed, while government officials expressed relief.

“It’s not what it could have been,” said Irene Toner, the Monroe County director of emergency management. “I consider us pretty lucky so far.”

Forecasters said the storm could develop into a Category One hurricane — the weakest — by Monday, once it begins its unimpeded journey up the warm waters of the gulf.

Tampa, where most of the formal events on the first day of the Republican National Convention on Monday were canceled because of uncertainty over the storm, will most likely be spared. At the moment, Tampa Bay is expected to feel the sting of the storm’s wind and rain but should escape its most punishing weather, a reprieve to organizers. An estimated 65,000 people are expected here for the convention.

“Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday ought to be fine,” Mayor Bob Buckhorn of Tampa said on Sunday.

But the storm’s shift to the north and west — farther away from Florida’s south and central coast — has prompted heightened concern elsewhere. Hurricane experts now predict that the storm could smack right into the northern and western Gulf Coast, perhaps even New Orleans. By then, it could reach a Category Two hurricane with 100-mile-per-hour winds, projections showed. The storm’s latest shift, coming three days before the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, was met with great concern in the region.

Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana said he would skip his scheduled speech in Tampa on Tuesday but might speak on Wednesday if the storm cooperates. The Republican governors in several other Gulf Coast states — Florida, Alabama and Mississippi — also announced that the storm had forced them to alter or drop their plans for the convention.

Mr. Jindal on Sunday asked for voluntary evacuations in 15 low-lying parishes on or near the Gulf Coast and authorized the National Guard to mobilize 4,000 members if needed. The community of Grand Isle was placed under a mandatory evacuation order by its mayor.

“We always have to hope for the best even as we prepare for the worst,” Mr. Jindal said at a news conference in Baton Rouge.

The mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu, said that he did not anticipate ordering an evacuation but that the city was monitoring the storm and urged residents to be prepared. If an evacuation were to happen, buses and trains would take residents to shelters far from the city; under this plan, the Superdome, convention center and airport would not be open as shelters of last resort.

“We’ve walked through this many, many, many times,” he said. “You have to be prepared to evacuate in the event that an evacuation is called.”

Shell and BP oil companies curtailed drilling and evacuated oil workers in the gulf.

Several Florida beach communities between Tampa and Naples, including Fort Myers Beach, were ordered evacuated on Sunday as a precaution. In South Florida, officials had also taken precautions, closing schools and opening shelters. Airports remained open but hundreds of flights were canceled.

Residents fueled up their cars and generators, took stock of batteries, moved potentially airborne objects inside and bought extra water. In the Keys, most businesses put up shutters and closed early on Sunday. But most people in South Florida took the storm in stride.

As the system shuffled toward the Florida Keys, residents, who tend to view a tropical storm as a trifle, greeted it nonchalantly and, in some quarters, as an excuse to party indoors. They took a few precautions and then met up in bars or with friends. Key West’s last brush with a hurricane was Wilma in 2005, which caused widespread flooding.

With so many people tucked under roofs, raucous Key West felt eerily still.

“The streets are dead,” said Erin Kelly, owner of Bad Boy Burritos in Key West, who planned to stay open until the umpteenth hour. “It’s fabulous.”

Officials had urged tourists to leave ahead of the storm but many in Key West chose to stay put. “It’s a different way to visit Key West,” said Marcello Noccia, a visitor from Naples, Italy. “Everybody here is not nervous. On TV, they are a bit nervous but not here, not walking on the street.”

In Islamorada, farther east along the island chain, many residents were preoccupied with securing their boats. Residents sometimes steer the boats into the mangrove cuts, “then get off the boat and pray,” said Ted Opyr, 68. Mr. Opyr lives on a houseboat and was riding out the storm at the Hampton Inn.

The mangroves can reach about 20 feet in height and are so densely entwined that they provide the best shelter for boats.

As for the locals who did not so much as blink at the storm’s flirtation with the Keys, “You won’t see a local leave the area unless it’s a Category Three or higher,” Mr. Opyr said.

Reporting was contributed by Campbell Robertson from New Orleans; Nancy Klingener from Key West, Fla.; Lara Petusky Coger from Islamorada, Fla.; and Channing Joseph from New York.

A version of this article appeared in print on August 27, 2012, on page A9 of the New York edition with the headline: On Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, New Storm Threatens the Gulf Coast.