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David Stubbs Photography

Friday, August 26, 2011

Preparing for a hurricane--I've been there

Watching the coverage of Hurricane Irene feels eerily familiar to what I was doing 7 years ago while living in Southwest Florida. During a crazy weather pattern in the summer of 2004, I ended up covering four Hurricanes-- Charley, Francis, Ivan and Jeanne. (no, not Jeannie. Although I do pack a punch when needed.) 

I feel bad for everyone on the east coast going through this right now. I know when a hurricane is churning towards you, you get a pit in your stomach wondering what its path will be, question whether it will hit your town and if you'll be okay.  Best wishes coming your way, east coasters.

My summer of '04 taught me an important lesson about myself: I'm a pansy.

Punta Gorda, FL
It's true. You see, I have reporter friends who love covering storms. My friend, Melissa, is the first to come to mind. Before, during and after Hurricane Charley, she was such a trooper. She asked to go to an island location to get the most action. Me? I cried when the news director told me I had to leave with a photographer before they boarded up the newsroom doors.

"Where will we go??" I wailed. He said, "Someone secure. I'd recommend a parking garage." I then called my mom and Mike to tell them my final goodbyes. (What, dramatic? Me?)

Melissa then hopped in a live truck, ready for action. Me? I cried for another 10-20 minutes. (30 tops.)

Melissa looked like a solid pro, reporting live on the scene as the storm approached. Me? I looked like a drowned rat, ready for my impending doom.

Melissa then braved the category 4 storm, ready and willing to do live shots. Me? I hid in my photographer's apartment, using his pregnant wife as an excuse. What if she went into labor? I needed to be there to deliver the baby! (Although I pass out at the sight of blood, so I'm not sure how that would work.)

Melissa then spent the next 36 hours or so reporting from various locations, never skipping a beat. Me? Normally a calm person, I threw my work cell phone at a brick wall after being told I'd have to do yet. another. live. shot.

I guess part of getting older is accepting what you're good at and what you're not. I've realized I really do love journalism...just a whole lot better when there are sunny skies.

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