Whew! It’s over. If I step outside of my North Texas home on this, the first freezing night of the season, it might be just quiet enough to hear a collective sigh coming from the East.
Residents of Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, etc., must be very relieved that the hurricane season is over. For some, however, the nightmare has not come to an end. Thousands are still without a home. Hurricane Charley might have taken it from them. If not, it might have been Ivan, Frances, or Jeanne.
For the first time since recordkeeping began in 1851, four hurricanes impacted Florida in one year. Here is a recap on the season from NOAA, which includes many links to images.
World Tuned In
Charley hit on Aug. 13, and an unprecedented number of people flocked to weather Web sites, many of them watching a local station in Fort Myers, Florida, which provided a live stream of their continuous local news coverage online. People expected to see that great service return, and as the next three hurricanes arrived, it did, thanks to several TV stations in Florida one in Alabama. I talk more about this in my blog entry World Is Watching.
Just 12 years later, I can see, in real time, newscasters from Seattle give me the local perspective on steam billowing out of Mount St. Helens, which I can also monitor via an official webcam. I can choose live coverage from KING and KONG — OK maybe not KONG, but KATU from Portland will be there, streaming it all. (Remember, you’ll be able to find those streaming links in this blog the next time St. Helens blows her top).
The “information superhighway” now has many more lanes – and faster lanes — than I’d imagined when I first heard that phrase not long after Andrew hit Florida. Broadband and streaming news are great tools, and local TV stations know it, especially after the events in the Southeast this summer. The station where I work does.
I’m not really going to head outside to listen for Floridians’ sighs of relief. It’s just about down to freezing out there now, and I moved from Michigan mainly to get away from this kind of weather. As for it being quiet enough to hear anything emanating out of Florida from my Texas home, there’s no way – all I can hear outside is the endless stream of traffic on nearby Interstate 35.