A Little Inside Baseball On Today’s Storm Coverage

Were we on for two and a half hours today? I think so. This kind of wall-to-tall coverage sneaks up on you.

The forecast was pretty straight forward. I write a little columnette in the Hartford Courant. Here’s what was written yesterday evening and hit the doorstep this morning:

The Storm Prediction Center has an odd way of giving us a heads up on severe weather. As of late Tuesday evening we are under a “slight risk” of severe weather for Wednesday. When SPC says “slight risk” you can read it as “significant risk.” I do and I probably follow their work a little closer than you. Strong, possibly severe, storms this afternoon will usher in cooler, drier air for Thursday.

So, this weather was no surprise to any of us (even at the other stations). Dan Amarante says he talked about it on-the-air over the weekend. That’s a pretty decent lead time.

Once you know about the weather you’re supposed to get ahead of it. Joe Furey stayed late. I came in early. Dan just came in (on his day off).

Rachel, off to visit her grandmother out west, will hopefully board her flight only five hours late! Bradley is the last place she wanted to be. I can relate.

The Severe Thunderstorm Watch was issued at 1220 PM. It followed a Mesoscale Discussion this morning which gave a 95% chance of the watch being issued! Like I said, conditions were straight forward.

THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER HAS ISSUED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF

CONNECTICUT
MASSACHUSETTS
NORTHEAST NEW JERSEY
SOUTHEAST NEW YORK
RHODE ISLAND
COASTAL WATERS

EFFECTIVE THIS WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING FROM 1220 PM UNTIL
900 PM EDT.

HAIL TO 1.5 INCHES IN DIAMETER…THUNDERSTORM WIND GUSTS TO 70
MPH…AND DANGEROUS LIGHTNING ARE POSSIBLE IN THESE AREAS.

We went on live around 2:00 PM covering the beginning of the scheduled program. Joe Furey did handled that one and in two minutes set the stage.

At 2:30 PM I went live and then a funny thing happened… we didn’t go off! The storms were vicious. There were reports of large hail and wind damage. The cells were living up to expectations.

When the light on the camera came on I had no idea how long I’d be on. I never expected it to last until 5:00 PM.

Dan ‘drove’ the graphics equipment. Joe kept giving me on-site information coming into the newsroom.

It’s possible to do this kind of coverage by yourself, but its best when the talker concentrates on what he’s saying and the others feed him info. I prefer to watch the monitor and have the graphics lead me. That’s what Dan and Joe did.

There are a lot of standard things to say: how to stay protected, what the colors on the radar mean, what’s expected. It’s also important to have an understanding of the state’s geography. Mentioning West Farms Mall is probably more meaningful than mentioning any of the three towns it straddles.

Dana and Sara, two producers, were in the control room. Along with them were a director, camera operator and audio engineer. They are used to following a set rundown. Not today. Everything was seat of the pants.

Alison and Brent anchored on-set. They did all the interviews, but on a day like today they let the weather folks do the heavy lifting.

It really is a team effort and its made better when the team has a singular goal.

There’s little viewer comparison shopping during a storm like today’s. You just have to hope the folks watching were satisfied and you made some friends who’ll remember you next time they need this kind of info. That’s all you can do. Then you pray audience follows performance.

Postscript: My wife found it funny my tissues ended up on the desk with me. For 2.5 hours my mind was off my cold.

6 Responses to “A Little Inside Baseball On Today’s Storm Coverage”

  1. Gail B says:

    You have always been the best Geoff, and today is example number 1,200,617 of why you are the best.

  2. John says:

    Great Job today! Liked the team coverage.. I Am always watching Fox Ct now. Hope to have a 5pm newscast soon if the rumor is true, I was not out of work til 4 and caught the end of the coverage. But as always much better than Elm st

  3. Donna says:

    You guys did a great job!! Always informative, but not causing hysteria! You were the only channel I watched. The entire news crew was fantastic! I thought about your cold and the fact that you had to talk almost nonstop all that time…it must have been the adrenaline that quelled your symptoms! :)

  4. Ed says:

    Your dedication to your profession is the reason I bolted from the nightmare on Elm St. when you did and followed you to Fox CT, who gladly have the same dedication as you. I admit to BRIEFLY switching over to THEM to see if they were even on the air, which they were but it was obvious they were doing an inferior job. My congratulations to you, Joe, and Dan on a job well done today, and I am so glad I switched!

  5. Sharon says:

    I was off the grid, so my iPad was my link. Love the FoxCT weather app where you can zoom in the radar map right down to your street, and watch the yellow and red approach….and then leave. I’m very attached to that app!

  6. Richard says:

    A few comments, this station has put you at your best…..the pinnacle of your carrer ! Good for you !!!! Didn’t see the coverage, but I’m sure it was on target. I like how FOXCT is grabbing up all the talent in CT that other stations are seeing fit to disgard…..as they fill their seats with unknown B players……….. This only menas sucess for FOXCT…..they will be come the only true CT station with CT talent we know love and trust!

    Side note: Have you upgraded to the new galaxy SIII yet? I have…..all I can say is WOW, this phone runs laps around any Iphone !

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