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January 9, 2006

‘It Could Happen Tomorrow’ Weather Channel series premiere depicts major hurricane in NYC

After viewing an advance copy of the series premiere of “It Could Happen Tomorrow,” which airs on The Weather Channel Sunday, Jan. 15 at 9:30 p.m. ET, I’ve concluded that what I saw couldn’t happen on Tuesday, or even this month … but it could definitely happen later this year.

Before seeing an episode of the series, I questioned whether — in the age of “Day After Tomorrow” and “Category 7” — it would be concerned more with flashy animations than useful and accurate information.

The first show deals with a Category 4 hurricane striking New York City. It can happen, as the episode illustrates via archived footage of the great hurricane of 1938, which missed NYC by only 75 miles. In a world of unreal reality shows, it’s refreshing to see actual video footage.

After convincing viewers (some in New York) that the possibility exists, the show depicts what would happen if a major hurricane barreled toward the Big Apple, and how the city would deal with the evacuation of millions of people, some who currently say they are more concerned with a terrorist attack than Mother Nature.

More importantly, the show serves as a reminder for New Yorkers who already know — and informs the rest — that the city is due for a hurricane as strong as Katrina. As a result, the first episode of “It Could Happen Tomorrow” proves to be informational while entertaining.

That being said, it would have been nice to have heard a few words on the matter from the director of the National Hurricane Center, Max Mayfield. The episode does sound the alarm, however, especially important considering the forecast for increased hurricane activity over the next 10 years. Those who watch the program may keep a closer eye on the tropics and be better prepared for such a catastrophe.

Additionally, the fast-paced show’s 30-minute runtime may be more likely to keep trigger-happy viewers from reaching for the remote.

The series’ Web site promises a March episode on a major Memphis earthquake and, in the following month, an episode depicting an 8.0 magnitude earthquake rocking San Francisco. I especially look forward to the next episode, which hits close to home: the possibility of an F5 tornado tearing through Dallas.

CapitalWeather.com has linked to a video clip of an unaired episode last spring that looked at a major hurricane slamming into New Orleans.

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