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And so it begins. There is some debate about which buildup for Hurricane Harvey is biggest: the storm itself or the media coverage.
If you watch The Weather Channel–which is doing an excellent job–you will receive the impression that this thing, Harvey, is an absolute freak of nature and one of the worst storms of all time. The major hope among those who are in the area which will be affected by the storm is that the weathercasters are wrong…that the storm will not live up to its’ billing, that it will not reach maximum force, won’t hang around for days and drop feet of rain on a part of the country that doesn’t handle massive rain well and is flat and full of hard surfaces and concrete and prone to flash floods and that in a day or so it will all, literally, blow over.
Harvey has other ideas. In the last 12 hours, the storm has grown from Cat 2 to Cat 3 to Cat 4 (let’s hope it stops there) and is now bearing down on Corpus Christi and tossing wind at high speeds in every direction. In other words, it’s ugly and it’s going to get uglier.
It is, under the circumstances that are materializing, not quite right to be critical of the weather forecasters and weather channels for scaring us.
Looks like–regrettably–they were right.
An extra push of adrenaline fueled fear is sometimes what is required to get people up and moving.
If one life or two or twenty-five is saved because people took them–the weathermen and women–at their word and got in gear and stocked up or–if in the path–got out of dodge, then that’s a job well done. The coverage now, in the evening, is almost continuous on local stations and is continuous on the cable and internet weather channels. It’s a real life drama with unpredictable twists and turns and it’s riveting.
There are other elements at play here.
This is Emmy time. This is breakout on the national media scene time. This event and these moments are the ones that push weather and news people and TV producers into national prominence and make careers and win awards. It’s national news but it’s on your turf–get out there, lean into the wind, deliver the report and get it all on tape. Destiny is calling.
There is a precedent: during Hurricane Carla in 1961, one such breakout occurred and it turned local newscaster Dan Rather into first a CBS news reporter and then the anchorman for the CBS Evening News. On the strength of his performance in the wind and pressure of Hurricane Carla.
Hurricane Harvey is winding up. Stormwatch will provide coverage and commentary until the storm is over or the power goes out–which ever comes first.
The Fine Print: Screenshot of The Weather Channel taken at 9:15AM, 25 August 2017, with Apple iPhone 6. Stormwatch is a production of Perception Engineering and The Media Bunker. Contents copyright (c) 2017, Donald Pierce.
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