I could have missed my roommate’s wedding.
That’s what hurricane season does to me. It’s a big, ugly obstruction in the middle of the summer that requires me and my colleagues to be available 100 percent of the time if a storm pops up in the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico. If a tropical system is threatening North America, I’m expected to work.
So 10 days after serving as a groomsman in my buddy’s wedding, I sit here having worked 30.5 hours in the last four days. I’m not complaining — some people have worked 48. But that doesn’t make me any less tired, and hopeful that Hurricane Isaac WOULD JUST HURRY UP AND DO ITS THING ALREADY.
I know I was lucky to dodge hurricane season until now, but for the next month or more, everything is up in the air. I’ve asked for days off, and I have Sunday-Monday weekends, but working for The Weather Channel means I have to write all of those PTO requests in pencil.
And it might seem like a complaint that hurricane season interrupts my summer every year, like clockwork, but deep down, I really love it — not the hours, but getting to be a part of something as cool as covering a hurricane as news breaks.
I’m hoping for the best for Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. I really hope Isaac slowly dumps massive amounts of rain that can provide drought relief in Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. And I hope I’m allowed to get lots of sleep when Isaac is finally gone.
It’s not enjoyable waking up at 4 a.m. to work a 10-hour shift, but it sure is fun to work with some of the most incredible minds in meteorology. Our newsroom may be nothing like The Newsroom, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t as intriguing to watch. It’s a symphony of hard work, mixed with a dash of panic, topped with nose-to-the-grindstone information-gathering from the tv producers, weather forecasters and website editors.
Maybe that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, but it’s definitely mine.
As I write this on Tuesday evening (I had to do a double-take, because I honestly forgot what day it was for a second), conditions are getting worse and worse in southern Louisiana and elsewhere along the Gulf Coast, and a lot of people are downright scared Isaac is going to treat New Orleans the same way Katrina did. Hopefully, the $15 billion spent on the levees will be money well spent and the confidence of New Orleans residents can be restored, slowly but surely.
I’ve never enjoyed seeing death and destruction. Nobody in our building does. Seriously. Someone has to update those death toll numbers in our articles, and it’s usually me.
There will always be the ugly side of weather coverage, but hopefully, we do some good in keeping people prepared for tropical weather.
And that’s always worth giving up a few hours of sleep.