Hold on to your pants (and mic)! There’s a hurricane!

Published 5:39 pm Friday, September 12, 2008

When I got home last Wednesday, one of the messages waiting for me on my answering machine was from my Aunt Kathy who resides in the great state of Texas.

“If I were you I’d get the hell out of Dodge,” she said. “Don’t wait until the last minute.”

When my aunt left that message, as we all know, Tropical Storm Hanna was slowly lumbering its way to our area.

I understood Aunt Kathy’s franticness; after all she had just fled Hurricane Gustav while she staying with her daughter in Lafayette, La. But at that time it was still up in the air whether or not Hanna would actually become a hurricane.

I knew as reporter I probably wouldn’t be going anywhere unless Hanna suddenly turned into the mother of all hurricanes. So I decided not to call my aunt back for the sake of avoiding an argument.

If you’re a native of the Roanoke-Chowan area, then I’m sure you have weathered your fair share of hurricanes and Tropical Storm Hanna was nothing but a gusty rainstorm.

Even to me, a Yankee who has no tropical disturbance experience, Hanna was a virtual breeze.

Yes, it seems hurricane season is in full swing and you know what that means?

You can expect possible mass evacuations, destruction and all out devastation, with strong chance of idiots out in a hurricane trying to report it all, LIVE, to you.

Like spring time tends to bring out the friskiness in animals, hurricane season is known to draw out the insanity in people… typically the ones donning rain coats with a microphone in hand and tethered to a camera man.

I think there has been a time for each of us, when we’ve turned on a television and witnessed a reporter or a meteorologist go tumbling across a sidewalk or a hotel balcony.

Of course, as an Oswego State University alumna, I can’t help think of the time the Today Show’s Al Roker (also a OSU alumni) was blown down by Hurricane Wilma in 2005.

Despite ol’ Al being anchored down by a colleague, he still went flying like plastic bag near a leaf blower that just turned on. Thankfully he was able to crawl to safety and into the arms of the camera man, leaving his other colleague to fend for himself.

By far I’m a fan of Roker along with the other weather people who track and chase these storms (I can’t help it, I’m a Weather Channel nerd), but the hurricane psychosis has to stop somewhere.

Believe me I’m a reporter as well and I’m willing to seek out a story just like the next one. But luckily I am not in the kind of business where I’m required to strap myself to the nearest tree during 100 mph winds and report.

As Hurricane Ike bears down on the coast of Texas, I fear my aunt will have to flee yet another hurricane.

Maybe I should call and tell her to get out of Dodge and watch out for flying weathermen.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: amanda.vanderbroek@r-cnews.com or call (252) 332-7209.