Snowbody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen March 12, 2013Posted by Chris Stover in Behind the Scenes, Charlottesville, Journalism, Personal Accounts.
Tags: Journalism, outage, power, snow
In my three years in Charlottesville, I’ve covered two hurricanes, a derecho, a microburst, a few heat waves and an earthquake.
(Yes, I had to look up some of those words, too.)
All of that prepared me for the most complicated weather coverage yet: snow.
When I first moved to Charlottesville, there was about a foot and a half of snow on the ground. Then, two more systems over the next month dumped an additional 18 inches each. Since then, relatively nothing.
I had to shovel my four-wheel drive SUV out of my parking lot and got to work around 7:30 a.m. on the morning of the snow. By this point, about 6 to 8 inches had fallen.
I got to work to discover the phone lines at the station were down. That meant reporters in the field (as I was supposed to be) had no official contact back at the station, namely to the anchor desk to hear the anchors toss to the field.
What to do? Improvise.
Awaiting my first liveshot on our station’s weather terrace (aka the front stoop), I saw a man trudging along the sidewalk in skis. The news gods gave me a live interview just like that.
During my second liveshot from the weather terrace, a pick up truck began intentionally ramming a tree that had fallen in the street in front of the station. The anchors and I simply watched in amazement. More good graces from the news gods.
A few liveshots later, once the phones came back, I was at a local diner that had power and was serving up breakfast. In my shot, I told the anchors how I was surprised the place still had power. It was usually without it during some of the other storms we’d had. Almost to the second that I sent it back to the studio, and while I’m still on camera, the power at the diner goes off.
More off-the-cuff events from the news gods. And you can see my reaction in the picture above.
After about eight-and-a-half hours of wall-to-wall coverage, we called it a day when the snow slowed down. But our work wasn’t done.
I shot three looklive packages – one on plowing, one on sledding and one on a business boom – edited them, and called it a day.
Three days later, it was 70 degrees.
The roads were treacherous. Trees and power lines came down. People were without power for days. Weather events like this carry some severe consequences.
But, at the same time, it was a day for kids to have fun on the Charlottesville hills and the news kids to have fun showing them off. So until next year…