Meg’s Review of Hurricane Frances
If you live in South Florida, as I do now, you might have noticed that for the past three days, there has been nothing on TV but weather news. That is because a huge hurricane is bearing down on the area (and in some places, already hitting it).
The hurricane is not coming to where I live, Key West—at least, not so far. In fact, many residents of Miami and points north have evacuated down here to escape Frances. We are still getting the outer “feederbands” of the hurricane, which means periodic thunder and lightning, strong wind, and rain, but nowhere near what they are getting up north.
So it is actually quite safe here, if a bit damp (no bike riding or barbecuing, in other words).
Anyway, when I say that for the past three days there has been nothing on but weather, I really mean it. NOTHING BUT WEATHER. Is there any stuff even happening out there in the world of news BESIDES weather? Because if so, we here in South Florida wouldn't know.
I think I am starting to develop Stockholm Syndrome (you know, where hostages begin to relate to their captors) because I am starting to feel very close to the people reporting on the hurricane, actually. These newscasters, because they've been on for so long—some of them are putting in 18 hours shifts with no breaks—are starting to lose it. One of them who is stationed in the Bahamas started crying on air the other night because she wasn't sure her family knew she was safe (Note to her family: she's safe). We've been tuning in every few hours to see how she's doing (she's doing OK—check it out at http://cbs4.com/frances. Click on “CBS4's Joy Purdy battered in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas”).
Usually when we tune in, Bryan Norcross, the Channel 4 meteorologist, is raggedly reading aloud from whatever the latest report from the National Hurricane Center he's received. Every time a new one comes in, the printer behind Bryan goes BING BONG, and he turns around and rips it off and reads it to us, all excitedly.
Maybe it's the Stockholm Syndrome talking, but I have decided something about Bryan Norcross, after many hours of observation: Bryan Norcross loves weather. Seriously. He loves it. He LOVES the BING BONG from the NHC. He LOVES telling us about feederbands and how the eyewall is losing its integrity. LOVES it.
And I love how today, when a roving reporter beamed in some images of a lone surfer (http://cbs4.com/frances — click on “CBS4's Jill Martin on the surfer who got by police”) trying to ride the storm surge off the coast somewhere, Bryan went, all calm, “Well, he had to swim through the intercoastal to get there, since the police wouldn't let him across any of the bridges, so he's clearly a strong athlete. As long as he stays away from that pier, he'll be all right.”
Then one of the other newscasters goaded Bryan into admitting HE used to be a surfer! Yes! Bryan Norcross surfed in hurricanes!
“Just once,” he admitted, sheepishly. “But it was the best ride I ever had.”
Sadly, Jason, the surfer, has now been reported missing (go to http://cbs4.com/topvideo/ and click on “Police Want To Know: Where Is “Jason” The Surfer? | 9/4/04 | Jill Martin.” ) If he DOES show up, he is going to be arrested and charged with three misdemeanors. Everyone is really mad at Jason because he is tying up a lot of sheriff's deputies who are trying to find him and bring him in to safety, when they COULD be doing stuff like keeping people away from exploding transformers (go to http://cbs4.com/topvideo/ and click on “Huge Sparks When Winds Knock Down Power Lines | 10:45am 9/4/04 | Shomari Stone”)
Anyway, like Bryan keeps saying, this hurricane is serious business (although when we tuned in late last night after all the regular reporters had collapsed and gone home, and they had these two supermodel-looking reporters at the news desk that we had never seen before, we thought maybe cyborgs had taken over the newsroom. That was actually kind of funny). If you want to see how serious it is, go to http://cbs4.com/topvideo/ and click on some of the stories (“Yacht Being Blown Around By Storm Surge | 10:20am 9/4/04” for instance.)
That is the report from hurricane central and our preferred source of news, Channel 4 WFOR. Feel free to follow along online.
But be careful. You too may develop Stockholm Syndrome and start to feel oddly interested in Bryan Norcross's personal life.
In the meantime, Tropical Storm Ivan is supposedly gearing up in the Caribbean, so we have more weather to look forward to. It is possible I may never see anything but weather news ever again.
And considering what's been in the news lately, I can't say this is such a bad thing.
That's all from the outer feederbands.