Since school has started, my typical routine is to get up around 5am. I use the first quiet hour to drink my coffee, respond to emails and maybe write a blog post. Okay, who am I kidding? The first thing I do is check Facebook. Right now, there's an exciting comment thread happening on my page about The Wiggles and the teensy weensy (and possibly creepy) crush I have on Greg. Anyway, my addiction to Facebook paid off this morning. That's how I found out school was canceled, thanks to Hurricane Irene. The Charleston forecast for today is scattered showers and thunderstorms, with a chance of wind and rain this afternoon. I'll wait to reserve judgment about whether closing school was necessary. When it comes to children's safety and the general public's inability to drive, I'd rather be safe than sorry.
Weather forecasters and the news media often get a bad rap for creating a lot of hype around these storms. Having worked in television news rooms, I've seen what goes on behind the scenes. Some storms create a genuine cause for concern and you have to watch them.
On the other hand...
Travel back in time with me, if you will, to 1998. It was my first few months at the number one station in town, I had never covered a hurricane before and I was scared to death of my news director.
So when they sent me up Highway 17 to stand at a boat landing somewhere near Myrtle Beach, I literally begged for a gust of wind to knock me down. I couldn't imagine saying, "Well, there's not much going on. Boss man, you're an idiot for making me stand here." But after working 'round the clock and spending the night in the live truck (hotels were closed and my videographer and I had no where else to stay) I got my wish.
At some point, it started to rain. And the wind started to blow. Hard. I held my hat and planted my feet. And then I got word officials had reinstated the evacuation orders. And that's when I said, live on the air (in a tone similar to, "Don't go into the light, Carol Ann!), "For those of you who evacuated... if you think you can come home, you can't come home!"
I tell you this story with a clear conscience, because eventually, I developed more credibility and the confidence to tell viewers it was simply raining. And, besides, who's going to listen to a 23-year-old wearing a red trucker hat with a helicopter on the front?
Have a great weekend, everyone. Stay safe.
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