I walked in the newsroom this afternoon and ran into Joe Furey. I was in early, but he was in late… very, very late. Joe has a dual role at FoxCT and the CBS Radio station in the Hartford area. He was holding down the radio fort.
It was obvious something was brewing. There wasn’t enough to mention tornadoes Thursday night, but as I got ready for work and scanned the radar I knew we were going to get soaked if not worse. A Tornado Warning on Long Island was an attention getter!
I led the 4:00 PM News on FoxCT with a watch already posted for our six eastern counties. While live in my normal weather slot a Tornado Warning was hoisted in Connecticut.
When there’s a Tornado Warning in effect that’s what we cover! Everything else is blown out. It’s our policy. I didn’t even check with the producer (I should have since she runs the show) before explaining on the air we were going to stay with weather.
At this point things come at you quickly. Radar is close to real time. Storm reports are always delayed. My job was to stay in front of the weather.
If I wait until I see a cell over a town it’s too late!
Bridgeport had 1.6″ of rain in an hour. New Haven had over 2″. A wind gust near 60 mph was reported in Madison.
Being able to place towns from memory while sight reading a map is helpful here!
What began as a well planned show turned free form. If Joe walked out of the radio booth it meant he had info for me. He was on-the-air ASAP. No waiting. Just do it.
I began to ask the director and producer for external cameras. To their credit they totally understood. You’ve got to have the team pulling together, even if we’re not always sure where together leads.
Because of Joe’s diligence we were on-the-air showing the potential tornado in Glastonbury as the warning came up! He saw it in the radio booth and came out.
We switched to the Doppler function of the radar–unusual to see most days. This was totally Joe’s doing and I’m glad I trusted my instinct to let him lead the way. It was powerful TV for people in the storm and everyone else. His experience was showing.
As the point guy for our 2’ish hours of live coverage I hope a lot of people watched. In the end it was a day to reinforce what we have… how we do what we do… our style and sensibility in coverage. We tried to make friends.
I hope you watched.