This Sunday's edition of “Weekend Live” will be coming to you live and direct from the mother ship. We are moving staff to New York to take advantage of the superior technical facilities at headquarters. Without going through all the technical mumbo jumbo that would cause your eyes to glaze over, we have the ability to bring in more satellite and fiber feeds in NY. This will be important as we continue to cover the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina (search) and look ahead to whatever Rita has in store.
I have heard from family in the Houston area that the evacuations routes are jammed and there are anecdotal reports of people driving for 6 hours and moving only 30 miles. I can't decide which would be worse: facing the hurricane or dealing with that kind of traffic.
If you have never been in a Category 4 (search) or 5 storm, it's hard to understand just how awesome (in the old sense of the word) they can be. Words really cannot capture or express the power and fury of these massive, thunderous, pulsating, swirling masses of atmospheric energy. I covered a number of smaller storms as a young reporter in Mobile, Alabama, and thought I knew what hurricanes were all about — until I met Hugo.
There is a great deal of difference between a three and a four. A five is just insane. Because of some complicated logistics that went awry, I ended up on the road during Hugo — and my cameraman and I ended up riding out the worst part of the storm parked in the drive-thru of an abandoned McDonald's restaurant near Charleston. We prayed throughout the night that the giant golden arches would not fall on us.
It is frightening to sit in the dark (electricity is the first thing to go) listening to the howling of winds determined to scrape from the planet all man-made structures. You can't see things flying toward you until the last second. You can't sleep and sleep is the one thing you actually need very much because hurricanes aren't over when the wind and rain leave. No, the hurricane experience is only just beginning.
If you survive the rain and wind and storm surges (search), the basics of sustenance become your number one priority. You need food and a way to keep it from spoiling and you need drinkable water. Without electricity, you cannot count on working sewer systems, or on pumping gasoline for your car or a generator, if you are lucky enough to have one. You will live this way for weeks or maybe even months. Many hot, muggy miserable days and long black nights are ahead until basic services can be restored.
On second thought, maybe that traffic wouldn't be so bad.
I'll see you Sunday from New York.
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Brian Wilson is a congressional correspondent for FOX News and anchor of the Sunday edition of "Weekend Live."