This time last week, hurricane Isaac was making landfall in New Orleans with intentions of barreling straight through Monroe and our entire viewing area. At KNOE, the news and weather team were ready. We had been covering storm preparations for days and the GM had ordered us high quality rain suits (pants included) and groceries were ordered to stock up the break room.
Meteorologist Tom Pearson and anchor Mark Boyle plus the whole production team were hunkered down at the station preparing for a long night .But the four reporters schedules were broken up into shifts to ensure we had round the clock coverage of the storm, since the plan was to have “cut in” news and weather reports at the top and bottom of each hour for 24 hours. But once the wind started blowing, we threw those schedules out the window… deciding that all hands needed to be on deck. All of the reporters (Ty Russell, Lyndsey Price, and Jillian Corder) chose to stay throughout the night and into the next day because we wanted to. True reporters have a unique type of instinct, a sort of feeling of responsibility to the public, to be out in the field when a major event like a Tropical Storm is heading straight for your viewing area. How could any of us go home to sleep for even a few hours when we knew the scanners back a the station would be going crazy? Exactly. That is why by the end of it all I worked a 36 hour work day. Crazy, eh? But oh so worth it.
Starting at 9 on Wednesday night, the program cut ins began and while Ty and photojournalist Tubby were setting up a live shot in a southern parish, the remaining reporters and I were glued to the scanners. Within hours trees were falling on houses and live power lines were strewn across streets, we darted back and forth covering the spot news like nobodys business. Then around midnight when Ty got back, the three of us hopped into a car (safety in numbers) and drove through several different southern parishes who were seeing the first effects of Isaac. We took turns playing photog and reporter shooting several look lives, with the third person holding an umbrella over the rain jacketed camera. (Rule number 1, keep camera dry!)
We chased spots news and assessed damage, we even arrived on the scene in Franklin Parish minutes after a huge tree fell across a road. Although the rains and wind were beating us up, it was so much fun, talk about an adrenaline rush. Although, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared at certain points. Particularly when we were driving from Franklin to Caldwell on a back road in the middle of nowhere, the wind was so heavy it was rocking the car and my knuckles were white on the steering wheel trying to keep us from being blown into the other narrow lane with deep ditches on either side of the road. Low hanging branches were swinging threatenly over the road and all of us felt pretty nervous, but we made it through and it all turned out well.We got back to the station around 4 in the morning, just in time to cut all of our look lives for the morning show, Good Morning Arklamiss. We were also scheduled to appear in live shots throughout the show to describe the weather at City Hall, meanwhile the scanner was still buzzing with reports of powerlines down and other storm damage. So in between live shots, I played photog and would run out with a reporter and shoot look lives. Then after the morning shows wrapped, Lyndsey and I still amped up on adrenaline chose to forego napping for a few hours and we were sent out to do damage assessment and packages. By the end of Thursday, the adrenaline was slowly wearing off, but I felt fulfilled. What an exciting over 30 hours!! I’m already looking forward to the next big team coverage event!
The following is my package for the 6pm news on Thursday (in HD! Fancy!)