May 27, 2015

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Preparing for a big storm: an insiders look!

We all know how to prepare for a storm. Get the bread, the milk, and park your car at the bottom of the hill. But it's different inside a newsroom.

Most of us know how to prepare for a storm.  Get the bread, the milk, and park your car at the bottom of the hill. Well it's a little different in the news business. Can you believe we start preparing for a storm at least a week out? 

I used to work in Alabama where we reported on several hurricanes a year. With a hurricane, we start watching the brewing storm very carefully.  Every day and then every hour as the storm nears.  Most of the time it's downgraded to a tropical storm, but there is that one instance when you can tell it's going to be a very big storm.  Our news director starts sending out emails about who will be working when and where.  Most of us pack a bag the day of and spend the night at the TV station.  Others spend the night at the emergency management agency.  The lucky or unlucky ones, depending on how you see it, get to go out in the storm as it makes landfall.  To me that's the exciting part, because we are actually right in the storm.  Then after the storm hits, we go into damage mode covering all the accidents and injuries. 

The same goes for a snow storm like the one we're seeing today, January 29, 2010. We started getting ready for this storm on Monday when we knew a BIG winter storm was headed our way.  We've been watching this storm throughout the week as it changes slightly. For example, Tuesday the snow totals expected were between 1 and 2 inches then Thursday we were expecting 4 to 8 inches. On Wednesday we got an email from our news director about needing to bring a bag into the station and plan on spending the night.  Now as the snow comes down, we've got reporters out at TDOT and on the side of the roads.  Then after the snow falls we'll be covering any accidents on the roadways and any downed power lines. 

It's very tense leading up to a storm.  Everyone in the newsroom is in WORK MODE.  Right now, there are so many producers they can't all fit in the booth! Ha! So that's it in a nutshell.  If you have any questions just ask!

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