Random thoughts regarding media coverage of Charley

Dec 9, 2003
Now that cable coverage and some semi-hyping of hurricane Charley is on the downswing, I thought I'd throw out some observations. Most of them are quite (surprisingly positive)... I think the "hyping" of the storm wasn't too bad since the storm didn't rapidly intensify until several hours before landfall. I mean, remember the hyping (some of it responsible, some of it undoubtedly for ratings) from other strong hurricanes?

I think the cable networks and TWC did an excellent job stressing the danger of flooding and storm surges. Many times I heard a reporter or anchor stress this danger. This is very important since the far majority of deaths in hurricanes or tropical systems cames from the storm surge and post-landfall flooding. This is evidenced, too, by the fact that I just saw a CNN segment live from the HPC (Hydrometeorological Prediction Center), which I have never seen before. I think stations also did a relatively good job of portraying how the eye really tends to 'wobble' and thus the forecast track is rarely 100% accurate...

I was a little dissappointed the TWC didn't have much field reporting, at least in contrast to the cable networks. I don't expect TWC's coverage to be as intensive as local networks (for what it's worth, NBC2 WBBH out of Fort Myers has done an incredible job, imo, on their coverage), I do think it's relevant to have some decent field-reporting. I know Jim Cantore couldn't report live from Fort Myers, but what about by-phone reports? Or local affiliates?

Any other thoughts?
I was off work today, so I was able to watch the action on
multiple sites. I also scanned all the cable news channels.

I have to say The Weather Channel coverage was poor
once the storm hit.

Right at the peak of the storm, they were going to commercials
and local weather. I will agree they do an OK job of advanced
coverage and safety but they always fall apart when the action
gets heavy.

Granted they have to show commercials to make money, but
I never understand why they don't go live for an hour or
two when a major storm hits. Or, like CNN or Fox, why don't
they go live to local news channels. I'm guessing they are simply
too cheap?

No wonder their ratings keep falling.

Too bad Jim Cantori was not closer to the action, my wife and I missed his usual "being blow away act" .... in the 15 mph gusts!

Just some thoughts.

From channel 2's coverage (which I was also impressed with), it was very apparent that western Florida is a retirement community. Some of those callers just wanted to make me smack myself. The best one had to be the drunk guy though... He started woopin and a hollerin and then they mysteriosuly lost connection with him lol.

Channel 2 radar was great

While Channel 2's call-in portion on their live web broadcast was funny, to put it mildly, I found their radar graphics was top-notch. They showed the eye of the hurricane coming right into Charlotte Harbor. Their radar has the ability to show highways, buildings and bridges where the skies were clear. The clear opening of the eye, as it passed over the harbor, allowed viewers to see the bridge between Port Charolette and Punta Gorda.

Remember that scene from that extreme weather movie (The Day After Tomorrow) where the space station observers peered down from the sky and saw the eye of the super cyclone centered on New York City?

I will remember that precise moment the radar screen showed the eye of the hurricane sitting in the harbor like it belonged there!! That will be a defining moment in my memories of Hurricane Charley for years to come. 8)
I'm going to puke at the next TWC reporter adding so much drama to their reporting during the cane. Why? It's funny. The reporters not in the worst part act so dramatic you'd think you were watching a soap opera. Meanwhile the one guy in the worst part of it(out of them) is just doing his job and half enjoying it.
I agree that TWC's coverage was not very high quality. My household was tuned to CNN almost all day, as they had a variety of coverage from local news sources - even an animated radar in the bottom right of the screen at all times! Come to think of it, I'm glad CNN had better coverage - I'm not sure I could've handled a whole day of hair removal and oxyclean commercials. I like my hurricane coverage served without mustached women.

Anyway, for what it's worth, flipping back to TWC after the storm I was not impressed with Jim Cantore's previously recorded yelling with rain blowing at *maybe* 35-40 mph.