Channel Surfing During a Hurricane

Channel Surfing During a Hurricane
A restaurant in Oriental, NC with flooding from the storm surge. Credit:

Part of the fun in witnessing a major event, even if its a “storm of the century” that wasn’t is getting to see how the all-news channels handle the coverage. Usually one can flip between CNN and MSNBC.  My apologies to FOX News fans, but I want a centrist or left leaning spin on my news.

When a hurricane blows into town, the Weather Channel presents an additional outlet for a “news” story.

I’ve always wondered what kind of reporter says, “sure, I’ll go to the Outer Banks of North Carolina and put myself right in the path of an oncoming Category 3 hurricane. ”  On the other hand those weather guys and gals like Sam Champion of ABC and Al Roker of NBC must live for events like these. I suppose it’s their Super Bowl.  I get a wicked sense of joy watching these reporters, camera operators, and producers knee deep in water or getting pelted in the face by the driving rain.  Better you than me.

Fortunately for everyone, especially the homeowners in the affected areas, Irene turned out to be a Category One, and eventually just a tropical storm, that will cause some destruction, but not the potential devastation that could have occurred.  See my story on some of the more infamous hurricane to wreak havoc on the US coast.

In the Internet age, these networks now have access to a asset that wasn’t present fifteen years ago, the hundreds or thousands of people who witness these events firsthand, and have captured them on their cameras and cell phones.  The presence of that alone has enabled these networks to enhance the coverage with some real first person images, and video clips.  That definitely makes for interesting watching. Certainly more than listening to talking heads.

I also had a vested interest in the coverage.  A family member was ensconced in a hotel near JFK airport in New York, waiting to catch a flight overseas.  Everything was cancelled but not before she made it to the airport from Chicago.  The airlines have to scramble to rearrange their schedules and move planes through their intricate systems to make up for all the cancellations.  So the person who was supposed to leave Sunday evening, will now be jetting out on Wednesday morning.  They didn’t even lose power, like many thousands did along the east coast.

Here is some good amateur video from flood damage in Vermont.

Filed under: News, Weather/Environment

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