For many, this coming weekend of Memorial Day symbolically kicks off the summer season with parades, pool openings, and barbecues And though we are still nearly a month away from the “official” astronomical summer solstice, we are less than two weeks away from meteorological summer and the start of the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30. Meteorologists are predicting a very active hurricane season. And whether it’s a hurricane or a powerful storm by another name, like the surprise July “derecho,” or “tropical cyclone” as Sandy was officially classified as, we all need to get into the summer weather mindset and plan. The National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center offers tips for staying safe and preparing for weather emergencies and power outages.
When weather strikes we all typically seek out our radios, from an app on our smartphone to old-fashioned battery powered portable ones, both for news and information updates and for human connection. We got talking about storm memories here in the office and our team of seasoned journalists and media relations folks shared a few of their own radio-related storm stories.
Martin Diaz: I must say that my first Breaking News story to cover for CNN was a very tough one: I covered Hurricane Katrina in 2005. On one hand, it was exciting as I was doing one of the things I have always loved the most about my profession: Journalism. But on the other hand, the experience was tainted with sorrow and sadness as I had to immerse myself in the aftershock of one of the worst natural catastrophes to ever take place in America.
My job was to report the aftermath of Katrina to all our affiliates in the U.S. and Latin America and I must confess that it was extremely hard to remain objective and concise as this tragedy was so touching at a personal level. This story resonated with everyone and continues to evoke deep emotions nearly eight years later. I am extremely proud to have shown the world that humanity and solidarity exist even under the worst possible circumstances.
Carole Carr: I remember one experience when radio saved my life…or at least my job! I was working as a television news reporter covering Hurricane Gustav in 2008. While hiding from the storm in a Wal-Mart parking lot, and gathering interviews to include in my live package, the power goes out and I look up just as a huge bolt of lightning lit up the sky. I called the station to inform my news director and of course he didn’t care and so elegantly replied, “We are coming to you live in ten, make it happen!” And I did, I used the radio as an IFB to listen for when the anchor tossed to me while I did a phoner, giving listeners and viewers the most up to date information.
Susan Apgood: For me, it was Hurricane Isabelle that came through the DC-area in September of 2002. We listened to our radio that was built into a cooler! We had loaded it with drinks and batteries and were ready to go. The night the storm hit, I was up all night while my husband slept soundly beside me. I listened to WTOP and WAMU throughout the night to get me through. And, once the storm passed, we then listened to the radio for power updates for the next five days until power was restored in our neighborhood.
Martha Sharan: I don’t have much experience with Hurricanes, thank goodness… but, every now and then, when one swirls around the coast of Florida or the Carolinas, we do get strong tail winds and rain here in the Atlanta-area. Trees come down, and then the power lines come down, and the best way to get information is the old fashioned, tried and true, battery-operated radio. I have mine set to one of the local news radio stations and keep a supply of batteries, so if I need it, I have it!
Michelle Garceau: From my recent experience with Superstorm Sandy, I realized the importance of staying connected, staying charged up, and keeping the car full of gas! I live in New York and thankfully prepared prior to the storm by downloading the apps from local cable network and local radio stations. I was ready if we were to lose power – which of course we did for nearly a week. Luckily, one of my cars could charge my phone even if the car was not on. So each night I would plug the phone in. The days following the storm, I needed to stay connected and hear local coverage to find out when schools would re-open, roads were cleared and, of course, which gas stations had gas and how long the lines were.
Get prepared, be safe and stay tuned…