Hurricane Florence has yet to swirl over North Carolina, but the nation’s TV-news operations are already setting up to meet her.
“It’s a large area, and we really want to be able to cover a big part of it,” says Wendy Fisher, vice president of newsgathering for ABC News, which has already dispatched multiple crews of anchors, reporters, camera operations and technicians to various points in the southeastern U.S. “Most hurricanes “hit the beach and then they peter out” she adds. “This one, there are warnings that it will linger. We kind of have to cover several different stories,” ranging from the storm itself to the consequences of its aftermath.
All the big news networks have plans to cover Hurricane Florence, which meteorologists predict will slam into the U.S. east coast later this week. It is now a category 4 hurricane and has sustained winds of 130 miles per hour. Millions of U.S. residents in coastal areas have been urged to evacuate.
Journalists are not among their number. Already, ABC News’ David Muir, NBC News’ Lester Holt and CBS News’ Jeff Glor are expected to anchor from different points in the Carolinas starting this evening, and then continue to report from the ground in the days ahead. Fox News Channel’s Bill Hemmer will be in Wilmington. North Carolina, starting Thursday.
NBC News’ Craig Melvin will report on the ground for both NBC”s “Today’ and MSNBC. Melvin will be joined on MSNBC by Ali Velshi, and Chris Jansing will anchor overnight coverage on September 13. Amy Robach., co-anchor of ABC’s “20/20,” ABC chief meteorologist Ginger Zee, and chief national affairs correspondent Tom Llamas will all be stationed in the field. CNN’s plans have yet to be announced in full.
There’s good reason to send some of the big names near the center of the storm. Hurricane coverage can create national moments that often spur emotional reaction. While covering the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Houston in 2017, CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell garnered recognition for entering the George R. Brown Convention Center,which the Red Cross was using as its main shelter in the area. The organization wasn’t letting cameras in, but she managed to accompany an evacuee inside and shed light on the limited resources available to people who had to sleep on the floor. NBC News’ Lester Holt made some waves by being the first of the three broadcast-network evening-news anchors to get to Houston to cover the disaster.
The TV networks are also making plans for hurricane coverage that will reach news consumers on the go. CBS News’ Glor, for example, will provide reporting for CBSN, the news unit’s streaming-video hub. CBS News has also created a digital site for coverage, cbsnews.com/florence. NBC News’ coverage will be featured at ABC News plans to feature multiple raw, live feeds of the storm, continuous reports from ABC News’ team of correspondents and meteorologists and live coverage from at least seven ABC affiliates in the affected region, all on its ABC News Live streaming hub. It’s “On Location” Facebook program will also feature coverage.
Many correspondents will deploy across North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. MSNBC and NBC News will station Gadi Schwartz in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., for example, and Garrett Haake in Virginia Beach, Va. Fox News correspondent Steve Harrigan will report live from North Topsail Beach, N.C. CBS News correspondents David Begnaud and, Elaine Quijano are among those who will be stationed in the field.