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Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Notes

Observations from Hurricane Irene weekend...

I was in Walmart Friday morning, doing what I usually do-- stocking up on supplies for work.  The approaching hurricane was at the back of my mind, so I grabbed some extra diet soda and a box of oatmeal, in case I have to spend more time at the office than originally planned.

Saturday morning, before, during and after the broadcast, I watched meteorologist Noreen Clark's forecast, and the outlook put forth by others.  Everyone agreed our area was going to get hit.  The impact, however, differed widely.  Irene was going to be either a pussycat or a tiger.

There's a Price Chopper supermarket on my way home.  I didn't have to stop, but I did spy the parking lot from the highway.  Packed.  People were taking the forecast seriously and reacting, perhaps over reacting.  As we later discovered, it was the former and not the latter.

A light rain was falling as I drove in to work, around 10 Saturday night.  There was a lot of traffic on Interstate 81 and Montage Mountain Road.  I was surprised.

Just as I got to work, the skies opened, and it began to pour.  Meteorologist Ryan Coyle briefed me as to what to expect overnight and in the morning.  Thank you, Ryan, and I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to say good bye.  Good luck in Harrisburg, and I'm sure our paths will cross again.

One of my tricks to staying alert on the overnight shift is going outside for a breath of fresh air once in a while, even if it's the middle of winter.  Yesterday morning had a tropical feel-- windy, rainy, warm.

I swapped e-mails, in the middle of the night, with one of my former co-workers, a producer now working in Norfolk.  She's fine.  So is the family.  I was relieved.

Noreen arrived earlier than usual, trooper that she is.  We went over a few format changes for the Sunday morning broadcast.  I gave her extra time.  I knew she'd need it.  There was an awful lot going on.

The four hour long morning broadcast flew by.  Dave Bohman was in the rain in Honesdale.  Jim Murdoch was with his folks down at the Jersey shore.  Both had interesting stories to tell, and it was different every time.

There was a glitch in the air conditioning system Saturday and Sunday, and it was much warmer than normal in the studio.  People were losing their homes in a storm.  I had no reason to complain about a little bit of sweat.

Just as our broadcast ended, conditions really started to deteriorate.  Creeks were coming over their banks.  Homes were being evacuated.  I wanted to stay, but we had several fresh staffers in place.  The station could do without me, for a little while.  I needed some rest.  I have what they call a quick turnaround and today is guaranteed to be a busy day.

On the ride home, the roads were empty.  That Price Chopper parking lot was almost deserted.

I spun around the radio dial, looking for my information on the storm.  The only one who sounded interested in what was going on was the guy on Rock 107.  Yes, the rock station had quick weather and traffic updates.  The other stations were missing in action.  So sad.

After some microwaved Chinese food for breakfast, I had one eye on the computer and another on the television-- flipping around to see how the storm was being covered.  I was pleased.  No hysterics, but then again, I did avoid The Weather Channel.

What was up with that jacket on new Jersey's chief executive?  On the right side of the chest, in big letters, it was embroidered "Chris Christie, Governor."  No NJ state seal.  Just the lettering.  I think people know who you are, Governor Christie.  He's being criticized by some for going on national TV broadcasts BEFORE appearing on local NJ radio.  Hey, governor, it's local first.

I looked up while driving to work Sunday night.  The clouds are gone.  It was nice to see the stars.

First item on the Sunday night/Monday morning work agenda was reviewing the work of fellow staffers to see what would go into the Monday AM broadcasts.  I have the pleasure of working with a talented bunch of people.

I hope you made it through Irene unscathed, and thank you for watching.