Friday marks the end of the 2012 hurricane season, which means I’ve officially logged two full seasons during my tenure at The Weather Channel.
I’ve learned some things during those two seasons, and it’s true that it’s very different on the outside. When I got into the building, my perceptions of tropical systems changed dramatically.
For one, I’m a breaking news junkie. I enjoy chasing a story as it’s happening and learning new information about an event as it unfolds. It’s why Twitter is my drug.
Hurricanes bring very little breaking news with them, at least if you’re comparing them to other weather events. They move slowly and we wait as much as two weeks for a storm to actually approach land after we first hear about it from the experts. To say they are deliberate entities might be an understatement.
I’m more of a severe weather coverage guy. However, hurricanes are still pretty cool. I mean, just look at that image of Hurricane Isaac on the home page. How pretty is that?
Over the last two hurricane seasons, I’ve learned to appreciate them, because they’re one of the biggest reasons why I have a job covering the weather. People tune in for tornadoes and winter storms, sure, but they don’t come to our website in flocks as big as they do when a hurricane is threatening the United States. It’s our bread-and-butter, and I can deal with two or three big storms every summer that keep me at the office for several extra hours. The 11-hour shifts actually seem shorter than an 8-hour day in most instances because it’s hard work covering a Superstorm Sandy or a Hurricane Irene.
There’s a term in our newsroom to describe the reactions we get from the meteorologists as they spot and track a weather phenomenon. It’s called “geeking out,” and it’s really cool to see. They have a lot more passion for their job than most people, and passion at the workplace is always a positive.
Covering a hurricane isn’t always enjoyable, but at the end of the event, it feels good to accomplish something that large. Writing about something that impacts so many people is a special privilege that I don’t take for granted, but it will be nice to cover other types of weather over the next six months.
I hope you’ll give my article for weather.com a read, because while I think the scale we use to measure hurricanes has been OK, a few alterations might make it really successful.