‘Talking Heads’ explain the obvious

Published 12:04 pm Thursday, October 13, 2016

Before Floyd in 1999 I didn’t worry so much about hurricanes. They came up the coast every now and then; and then they went away.

The wind blew, it rained, the power went out for a few hours, and television reporters stood out on the beach so folks like me could watch them when the lights were on. Those storms were far off and had little effect on us. The TV people went into the thick of the storm so we could laugh at them and hope for a big wave or (I’m ashamed to admit) a flying two-by-four.

It always bugs me that TV reporters feel the need to be in the picture, shouting self-evident inanities such as, “THE WIND IS HOWLING” as they struggle to stand in one spot, “THE DRIVING RAIN MAKES VISIBILITY DIFFICULT” as they try to shield their faces from the deluge, “THE WATER IS SWEEPING ACROSS THE ROAD” as they show a picture of water washing over a road, or “YOU SHOULD NOT BE OUT IN THIS” as they visibly are not heeding their advice to the viewers.

All they need to do to get their point across is anchor the camera somewhere with a good view and get the heck out of there so that emergency workers don’t have to worry about all those crazy television people hanging out on the beach. If they feel the need to explain what is obvious, they can talk to their heart’s content as the camera runs – safely from inside a shelter or an emergency management center.

I don’t understand why television crews get special treatment. Emergency services personnel get downright angry with the idiots holding hurricane parties on the beach, but you rarely hear any criticism of the several dozen TV news crews that are filming on the beaches. Could that be because the television people omit that bit of reporting? Or maybe the first responders like to laugh at them, too.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that we get to see scenes from the beach so we’ll have some idea of what’s in store when it gets up our way. And I would admire the bravery displayed by the news crews if it were essential to better informing the public about the approaching situation. But they don’t have to go outside and stand in it to convey that message, so “bravery” is really just foolhardiness.

I’ve developed a much greater respect for hurricanes since Floyd. I always figured that this far inland, the worst you had to worry about was a little wind. The winds would howl for what seemed like forever, but you never felt threatened by it and the rain was just not something you gave much thought to because it was no worse than any nor’easter or cold front pushing eastward in the summer.

Floyd was much worse.

The storm itself wasn’t that scary. Just as with most hurricanes, the winds howled, the rains pelted, and a few hours later it calmed down and went away.

That was years ago. The storms seem much worse now. What used to be 100-year floods are now every six- to seven- year floods, or lately every two-to three-week floods.

Maybe this is a side effect of climate change.

I hate that so many people around here have lost so much. And I’m very thankful our first responders give us all so much of themselves. Now that Matthew is gone, let’s cut back on the wind and rain awhile. Let’s have a nice fall with pretty leaves and wonderful weather. Let’s have a forgettable rest of the fall.

By the way, thanks to the linemen at the power company. We only lost power for about an hour. Pretty good, I think.

Keith Hoggard is a Staff Writer at Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at keith.hoggard@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7206.