Reporting on snow doesn’t really get easier.
It’s fun to tell the snow stories. It’s not as fun to be out in the ~32-degree weather all day long. (Although, in hindsight, it is.)
This week, the first major storm of the winter hit Central Virginia. Snow accumulation was inches less than what was anticipated, but the impact was still great.
On top of the couple inches, the temperatures over the coming days would border freezing — making overnight lows in the low teens or single digits. Therefore, anything that would stick would likely freeze.
Of course, the average viewer may already know this. So to make a standup as engaging as possible… what to do?
Sometimes, a liveshot goes so right until it goes so wrong.
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.