It’s a worst case scenario for a reporter covering a blizzard–not having the ability to go live. However, snowstorms make difficult “partners.” WPIX newsman Dan Mannarino was all set for for his Saturday morning coverage until the accompanying live truck got snowed in.
Mannarino and the truck operator left New York City Friday night, taking four and a half hours to reach their destination in Suffolk County, which was expected to feel the brunt of the storm in our area. They arrived during the overnight hours in Commack, Exit 53 of the Long Island Expressway.
WPIX began its blizzard “programming” at 7 a.m. with Mannarino planning to show viewers the unplowed highway. However, Mannarino and the truck operator split up to catch a few hours of sleep. The reporter went to a nearby hotel, while the driver stayed at his house a mile away. It turned out to be a serious error in judgment.
“In the morning he went to leave,” Mannarino tells FishbowlNY. “Taking the truck over to me, he drove two blocks and the truck got stuck on the side of the road.”
With two feet of snow and no plows in sights, the WPIX truck had no way of reaching Mannarino, meaning the live reporting would be scrapped.
But the conscientious reporter had no designs of spending the day in the hotel.
“I called the DPW [Department of Public Works] of that town and they came and sent a plow to get him out. That plow got stuck.” Mannarino says.
As the clock ticked down before his first shot in 45 minutes, Mannarino says a front loader was brought to the scene to remove mounds of snow. In the process, the plow was removed. The Channel 11 mobile unit, though, could not able to be extricated.
Now with a live truck and the rescuing plow casualties of the snowstorm, Mannarino took matters into his own hands. He walked several blocks to the L.I.E. where he shot some photos of abandoned vehicles on the snow-covered road.
“I did photo interviews from my location,” Mannarino says. “Because that’s all I could do while the truck was being dug out… From where I was, there was 30 inches and I couldn’t bring that to the viewer. It was very frustrating.”
Finally, Mannarino was reunited with his truck for a live report at 6 p.m. on the Nesconset Highway in Lake Grove.
In summing up, it’s Mannarino’s feeling next time the two of them must be at the same location, even if it means going live from the hotel parking lot.