Florida Stations Brace for Hurricane Matthew

By Mark Joyella 

With with latest forecast track putting Hurricane Matthew skating the Florida coast at Category 4 strength Thursday, stations from Miami to Jacksonville are in full storm mode, deploying crews to Home Depots, emergency operations centers and the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

“The strongest hurricane to hit Brevard and Volusia counties on record IF it comes ashore,” said Eric Burris, meteorologist at Orlando NBC affiliate WESH. “Just a few miles here or there along our coast makes a big difference.”

Screen Shot 2016-10-05 at 9.47.35 AMAt 8 a.m. ET, Miami NBC-owned station WTVJ began continuous coverage of the storm. ABC affiliate WPLG also opted for the storm over Good Morning America, while CBS-owned WFOR aired CBS This Morning. Fox affiliate WSVN aired its usual newscast, with a near total concentration on the hurricane.

Screen Shot 2016-10-05 at 9.59.29 AMFurther up the coast in West Palm Beach, CBS affiliate WPEC was in continuing coverage at 8 a.m., with a report from the Bahamas and a focus on storm preps ahead of the storm. ABC affiliate WPBF was also in full storm mode, while NBC affiliate WPTV, meanwhile, aired NBC’s Today. Fox affiliate WFLX devoted its regular newscast exclusively to the storm.

Amy Kaufeldt, an anchor at Fox-owned WOFL in Orlando, in addition to passing along the latest on gas lines and sandbag distribution in Central Florida, has been using Twitter to calm the nerves of scared viewers, including one woman who confessed to being “terrified.” Kaufeldt told the teacher “if you’re prepared, you will ride the storm out just fine. And we’ll be with you!”

For crews at stations and in the field, it’s going to be a long week.

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