People are live-streaming Hurricane Matthew

Florida residents prepare for Hurricane Matthew
Florida residents prepare for Hurricane Matthew

It's the first major hurricane of the Periscope era.

People in the path of Hurricane Matthew in Florida are using mobile live-streaming to show pounding rain, swaying trees, downed power lines and flooded roads -- sometimes for tens of thousands of viewers.

The Category 3 storm packed winds of more than 100 mph as it lashed Florida's Atlantic coast, causing Walt Disney World to shut down.

Conditions are so dangerous that authorities have urged or ordered people to evacuate some areas. But those who decided to ride out the storm are using their phones to document it for the world.

Some of the streams that CNNMoney spotted Friday morning came from Periscope users in Miami, Orlando, West Palm Beach, Cocoa Beach and Coral Springs.

The videos, which are archived online after a live broadcast ends, last anywhere from 30 seconds to more than an hour and a half.

Most of the shorter streams have only a handful of people watching, but longer videos, like one from storm chaser Jeff Piotrowski, have attracted more than 92,000.

A spokeswoman for Periscope said the company doesn't know exactly how many people have been sharing live video, but it has set up a dedicated channel for Hurricane Matthew live-streams.

Related: Disney closes theme parks as Hurricane Matthew approaches

Periscope is a mobile video streaming platform acquired by Twitter (TWTR) last year.

Along with the now-defunct Meerkat, the app helped make live-streaming accessible to anyone with a phone. Users can start a public or private broadcast, and viewers can send comments as they watch.

Facebook (FB) launched its own version, Facebook Live, earlier this year and has been making a huge push to get people to "go live" and watch live videos.

As more people started using the tool -- to document mundane parts of their day or wacky costume purchases -- they also unexpectedly helped capture crimes, causing headaches for the big tech companies.

Despite the growing pains, Twitter and Facebook have built convincing platforms for small broadcasters who want a bigger audience. Local TV stations suddenly have the power to distribute their coverage to a wide international audience with the press of a button.

In the case of Hurricane Matthew, several Florida stations, including WPEC in West Palm Beach and WSVN in Miami, have been using Periscope and Facebook Live to broadcast their coverage online. One WPEC livestream has had over 700,000 viewers.

Related: Related: Hurricane Matthew may be one of most expensive storms in U.S. history

As Matthew pounded the state on Friday, several tech companies launched disaster relief tools and services to help people still in the storm's path, people who have had to evacuate and travelers who are stuck.

Airbnb activated its Disaster Response Tool to arrange free emergency lodging for displaced people. Google (GOOGL) turned on its Crisis Map, which lays out the storm's path and publishes public announcements. And Facebook switched on its Safety Check feature.

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