Thursday, November 21, 2019

Rolling the Dice

I had the honor of producing Newswatch 16 This Morning on Monday.  There were a couple of choices for lead story.  One was the start of the Shawn Christy trial in federal court at Scranton.  He's the man who allegedly threatened to kill the president.  The second was freezing rain in the eastern part of our coverage area.

Making a weather based decision can be tricky, and I don't envy all those school superintendents.  There are times they have to pull the trigger long before the precipitation starts to fall.  On the other hands, many of those cancel/delay decisions are no brainers.

I consulted meteorologist Ally Gallo when I started my shift.  Ice was a definite maybe.  I waited a couple of hours and talked with meteorologist Valerie Smock at the start of her shift.  The ice potential was still there but it was not a super imminent threat.  I kept the weather radar screen up as I typed away at the morning news.

The last thing you want is to be caught out of position when bad weather hits, although a certain state agency does it on a regular basis.

Finally, it was decision time.  One of the most important things we do is try to get you to work or school in one piece.  Dangerous weather is always at the top of the broadcast.  In this case, the potential was still there, but it wasn't happening.  There was no radar activity.  Valerie informed me that a coastal storm was moving east and away from us.  Reporter Sarah Buynovsky was going to the Christy trial.  "Road Dog" duty, as we call it, would wait for another day.

One of the reasons I will eventually have an ulcer the size of the Archbald Pothole is I'm a worrier.  As I was in the control room during the broadcast, I kept looking at the radar.  Nothing.  My eyes were constantly checking the bottom of the screen to see if cancellations and delays were coming in.  None.

While there was a major sigh of relief after the broadcast, I was still tied up in knots and I couldn't sleep when I got home.  I love my job, and bringing it home with me is one of the things that is part of the position.

No decision is easy.