As I’m sure any reporter or producer for the Weather Channel or a major cable network can attest, storm chasing can be the best of times and the worst of times. There’s clearly an adrenaline rush, both in trip preparation and in landing in a storm zone and seeing what happened where it happened.
This year's back-to-back Hurricanes Harvey in Texas and Irma in Florida have already offered so many both highs and lows, incredible opportunities and observations, as well as somewhat vexing challenges and frustrations. On my last day in Texas, for instance, I was frustrated to NOT find any of the footage or photos I was after, as flood damage to the electrical system is harder to capture via camera than wind damage, as you often get blocked out from flooded areas by local police and/or the National Guard, who are rightly concerned about looting and other dangers — e.g. snakes or alligators in the water, yes, Oh My!
Even more frustrating, a nearly three-hour, less-than-five-mile bumper-to-bumper commute back to my hotel from trying to find flood damage. Well, I found it — sort of — in that the reason it took three hours to travel five miles was I was in a section of Houston west of downtown that had been heavily flooded with parts still underwater. And so many, many streets were blocked off, no entrance or no through traffic. To my dismay, I found this out at the same time as thousands of Houston residents, commuters and visitors were also finding it out.
The Silver Lining, though? Driving through this part of the city gave me a chance to see and photograph both an inspirational yard sign and a family including a couple of young girls selling “snacks for Harvey relief.” Using a hand-painted sign. Very cool and uplifting.
As my plane “uplifted” off the tarmac early that Saturday morning, though, thoughts turned immediately to Hurricane Irma, on that Saturday bearing down on Florida. Time to send selected pics and notes from the Texas trip, and on to Florida. More from there next.