A little more than a month ago I walked away from 25 years in TV weather. During my final days, I shared some lessons I’d learned throughout my career. In case you missed them on Facebook or LinkedIn, I’m also posting them here on my blog.
Working through a hurricane is much different than just living through a hurricane. Meteorologists have their personal plans in place long before everyone else because once we start telling you to prepare, it’s too late for us. When viewers start paying attention and taking a storm seriously, we’ve probably already been talking about it for a week. While some meteorologists get really excited about severe storms, blizzards or hurricanes, I much preferred sunshine and 70-degrees. This is why. Covering a hurricane, while also living through it, presents a set of challenges I never realized. The reason we prepared early is so we could concentrate solely on storm coverage rather than worrying about our family and home at crunch time.
We are impacted personally right alongside you. For instance,
- In 2004 I lost power for days (several times) during Charley, Frances, and Jeanne. A tree fell on our roof and poked a hole right above MY side of the bedroom closet!
- My windows were boarded up after Charley and stayed covered for the next 6 weeks through Frances and Jeanne. Those were dark days.
- Many of you might remember during the hurricanes of 2004, I was 9 months pregnant with my first baby. My daughter was born just as Jeanne looped back toward Florida. I watched from my hospital window as sheets of plywood flew off the building under construction next door. I was nervous about delivering my first child during a hurricane, but it turns out, the hospital was the best place to be (electricity, food, and nurses everywhere)!
- In 2008 a giant oak tree fell in my front yard, missing the house by mere inches after more than 20 inches of rain fell from Tropical Storm Fay.
- I worked 41 consecutive hours in Hurricane Irma with one 2-hour nap. I took that nap on an air mattress at the station, not on my couch at home. I was awakened with the news that a tornado was ripping off the siding and roof of the building right above me.
- In Dorian, I worked 12 consecutive days staying on TV for 12 hours straight each of those days.
While everyone else was home waiting for a storm to pass with their families, I was away from mine. Sometimes meteorologists are accused of “hyping” up a storm. I can promise I always tried to tell you like it was. I never played something up that wasn’t going to be a big deal, but I also tried to tell you for days that a storm was coming (even if you thought it was “overkill”) because I wanted you to be safe and prepared, exactly like I wanted my own home and family to be safe and prepared.
➡️ “Hurricane season brings a humbling reminder that, despite our technologies, most of nature remains unpredictable.” – Diane Ackerman