Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Winter Blitz '09!

Well technically, it wasn't even winter yet when the big snowstorm hit this past weekend. (The new season began just before 1:00pm on Monday). I think it's safe to say most of us will remember this event for many years to come. Snowfall records were broken across the area as we topped measurements taken during the big storms of 1993 and 1996.

I figured if this snow storm wouldn't make me finally update my blog, nothing would!

A brief "thank you" to the entire staff of WDBJ. All weekend our viewers "saw" Brent and myself in the weather office, as well as our reporters and anchors - but behind the scenes we were propped up by the best crew in the business. Here are a few specific notables.

Cara Stein; producer, NEWS7 at Six & Eleven Saturday & Sunday: Did an excellent job of communicating with me all weekend. Our conversations were always brief, but she kept me in the loop of the "news" angle of the storm, and the flow of the newscast.

Jamey "James" Tompkins; producer, NEWS7 Saturday and Sunday Morning: Never complained when my scheduled 2:30 weather segments ran over by 30 or 40 seconds.

Rob Chewning; NEWS7 photojournalist/editor: For simply saving my butt. It's a long story, but he stayed late and edited "Birthday's and Anniversaries" for me Sunday night. Thanks a million, Rob.

Brent Watts; Meteorologist and friend: For always thinking hours ahead - and never sleeping. Your creative talents are never-ending. You brought our weather coverage to another level.

Henry Bryant, Megan Kanode, Gordon Myers; NEWS7 weekend floor crew: Thanks for the gallons of drinking water you brought to the weather set. Thanks for warming my soup in the break room. Thanks for reminding me to change out of my "PJ's" and into my suit before the newscasts.

Uncle Mike Pettit; NEWS7 audio specialist: For talking to me about something other than the weather - like Memphis.

Paul Manning & Patrick Old; NEWS7 Saturday & Sunday Morning directors: For loving snow coverage and live TV. Nice ideas.

Johnny Tsi; NEWS7 evening shift director: Thanks for rolling with the punches and always saying "yes".

There are many, many others. Our news director and managing editor came in on their day off. Their leadership was nice; but they paid for pizza - twice - and that was even better! Many, many staff members worked on their normal days off. Kelly Zuber and Natasha Ryan were just a couple. Thanks to Robin Reed for his live phoner from beautiful Twin Cedars, and to Leo Hirsbrunner for his incredibly accurate snow forecast prior to the first flake falling. (It takes guts to slap up a graphic with 18"+ when you haven't seen a storm this big in 14 years!) Thanks to all the NEWS7 photographers who brought back great storm video. Most of it made CBS national news. Master control never skipped a beat, and often came out to the studio just to check on us - that means a lot. Thanks to all the folks who ran audio and chyron all weekend. No mics clipped, no graphics misspelled - at least as far as I could hear/see. Thanks to all those (engineering staff and others) who kept the dishes cleared of snow so we could keep receiving weather data. Thanks to traffic for carving our time for all those cut-ins.

Virginia State Police and VDOT also kept NEWS7 updated with traffic and road information all weekend. Thanks to them.

A very special "thanks" goes out to the men and women who plowed (and are still plowing) our streets and highways. Excellent work.

Finally, my wife. Sorry I was gone all weekend. You will be rewarded on Christmas.

There are others, and I thank you. You are all "Storm Heroes". It's great to work with such a dedicated group of professionals. All I do is clip a mic on my tie, but everyone else makes the world go-round; makes the whole thing happen. Let's do it again - in another 14 years!?!