Hurricane Sandy continues to move northward, and is projected to slam into the eastern seaboard on Monday or Tuesday of next week. Networks are beginning to plan for coverage (more on that later) but there are still lots of uncertainties.
“This is something that we have never really seen,” The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore tells TVNewser. “We have never seen a tropical system this late in the season come up and take a left hook and morph into a Nor’easter/hurricane combination, which is what the models are suggesting.”
For TV news crews, planning is key, but when you don’t know where landfall will be, logistics become a problem.
“The challenge for us is to get there before the storm. Period,” Cantore says. “I expect a lot of deployment tomorrow from the Weather Channel teams.
Maybe a little fine-tuning on Sunday for us to get there beforehand, to have all of our ducks in a row, and to be ready for three days of non-stop coverage of this thing.”
Safety is paramount when covering a storm like Sandy. The hurricane has already killed 29 people across the Caribbean.
“You don’t take unnecessary risks,” NBC and Weather Channel anchor Al Roker tells us. “You don’t do anything that is going to put you or your crew in danger, and you take best practices. Nobody wants do die covering a hurricane. At least nobody I know.”
While the temptation might be to compare Sandy to Hurricane Irene last year, Roker says every event is unique.
“Like last year I am sure there are going to be people who say ‘oh look, they are hyping it,’ and people made that claim last year with Irene, and I think those people need to shut up, and look at what happened,” Roker says. “It was a multi-billion dollar storm, with loss of life and lots of damage, and we have that same potential here.”
Depending on how much damage Sandy causes, the storm may become an election issue as well.
“In the short term it may become an election story, because it may impact where the candidates can or can’t go,” Roker says. “There is a potential for a foot of snow in parts of Ohio. If there are extensive power outages, that will have an impact as well.”