Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Storm Stories

This entry is not coming to you from my home office, so I don't have access to a lot of graphics and photos...

Let me tell you about my day.

I got up about midnight Tuesday morning, shaved, showered, etc, and headed to the office.  There was a couple of inches of snow on the ground and it was coming down pretty hard.  However, the drive to the office was a breeze.

WNEP management made assignments the day before.  Carmella Mataloni got the Poconos.  Ally Gallo was sent to Pottsville.  Photographer Erich and I were designated to be the "metro" crew.  No problem.  I like working in the cities.  That's where the people are.  That's where the stories are.  Cities, as you can see below, even in the middle of the night, are well lit.  There's action.  There's activity.

Producer Kim and I discussed location-- Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, or any of the surrounding communities.  We decided I would work out of our Wyoming Valley Newsroom.  Public Square is pretty in the snow.  The office gave us the chance to get warm and dry between live reports.  We had access to computers to check the latest information, and it was changing by the minute.

The photo above was a real kick.  PEMA, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, was watching several television stations around the state to see what the blizzard was doing.  I was on one of the monitors at PEMA headquarters in Harrisburg.  It was nice to help.  Obviously, our work is held in high regard, and is a trusted source for the decision makers in Harrisburg.

After we finished Newswatch 16 This Morning and Good Morning America duties, it was off to work on a story for our noon broadcast.

The roads were horrible, as expected when you get two feet of snow in a short amount of time.  We got stuck four times!  Thanks to those who shoveled us out, pushed us out, and towed us out.

There was a lot of housekeeping to do when I got back to the office, and some recording for a future project.  More on that down the road.

I finally got a chance to leave at 3 PM, but the roads were still terrible.  It was a short walk next door to the Hampton Inn.  As I write this, every appliance I have is recharging. Jeans and socks are drying on the heater, even though I have extra.  Some other staffers here and I are getting together for a little lobby party, which will be long over by the time you read this.  Joe Snedeker put a group photo on his Facebook page.  In nearly 19 years of working at WNEP, it was the first time I stayed in one of the adjacent hotels.  There were a few times I was out in hotels in Hazleton and Hawley for storm coverage, but this was the first time I couldn't make it home.  Thanks to management for making the offer.

One other thing I should note...  I started doing some social media things very early Tuesday morning and the hits/likes started piling up immediately.  Thank you for the Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and blog followers.  Tell your friends.  It means you turn to us for the latest information and some things we don't have the time and opportunity to show you on TV.  I still have my social media reservations, but I will admit it did make me feel good.

I headed back to my hotel room just before 10 pm.  I don't sleep well in hotel rooms.  I miss my radio.  I miss my pillows.  I miss my cat.  This stay was no exception.  I got about three hours sleep, and headed back to the station to see if the staff needed any help.  The situation was well in hand.  I hung around for some computer time anyway.

This will sound weird but I will say it anyway.  Working a blizzard was a lot of fun.  Adverse conditions, technical challenges, travel issues...  It's a long list.

I'm not much of a cheerleader, but even though tensions were high and there was considerable stress, there were no arguments, no raised voices, and a ton of teamwork.  I was proud to be part of it.

Having said all that, let's not have another blizzard for a very long, long time.

I'll have a few days off.  The blog continues.  See you again on TV Saturday morning.