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Today we have posted pictures from our trip to Florida to cover Hurricane Wilma (search). Some of the pictures in the second photo essay show a surprise we got — but fortunately missed!
We did the Sunday night pre-Wilma two-hour show from a hotel balcony in downtown Naples (search), Florida. We left after the show (at 11 p.m. ET) and all was well. The pictures will show you what we discovered when we returned about 11 a.m. Needless to say we were stunned. Even more significant for us is that this was the worst — by far — structural damage that we saw in Naples after touring the city post Wilma. I suppose if this had happened during the show we would have been safe by about five feet... but it would have been terrifying.
If you read Monday's blog, you know that we were without light in the hotel where we did the show (until the satellite truck arrived with generators.) I have posted one picture which shows you how we used our cell phones for light. We were literally stumbling around in the dark until someone had the idea to use our cell phone screens as a light source. The cell phones were not great, but they sure beat having nothing. The picture may seem sort of silly to post — and I debated whether to post it — but it really does show the rather unusual conditions we can run into while we do our jobs and how we must improvise. And yes, you would have thought I would have remembered to bring a flashlight. I brought one to Rita and never needed it. I neglected to bring one to Wilma and needed it... go figure.
You will also see the typical producer picture — on the phone. I don't think I have one picture of a producer in which he or she is not on the phone, working. Cell phones are permanently affixed to the ears of field producers. The picture that I posted shows my producer in a restaurant... on the phone, of course. I posted this because it really does show the life of a producer — constantly having to keep balls in the air. If you happen to have a meal with a producer, bring a newspaper to read, since half the meal will be your producer working and you don't want to just sit their and watch. Producers work very hard and don't get the acknowledgment for the shows that they deserve.
Hurricane Wilma made a mess of Florida, but after seeing Katrina's aftermath, it seems like Wilma went easy on Florida. I wonder what my view of Wilma's destruction would have been if I had not seen what Katrina did.
E-mails from viewers:
E-mail No. 1
Pleeeeeeeeaaasee get rid of that yellow ski jacket you are wearing again now for Wilma. You wore it duing Katrina and I meant to send you an e-mail telling you that it looks horrible on you. You, I take it, are a petite woman and a large ski jacket, yellow, at that does not look good on you. I am no Christian Dior, but it really does not bring out the go-getter, vibrant, on-the-spot-type of reporter and person you are. I bet a conservative, shorter-type of jacket maybe in red, would make you look much better. Please don't get offended by this e-mail.
Continuing to watch you all the time,
A FOX News Watcher from Georgia — take care
E-mail No. 2
A couple of weeks ago when you were discussing airport secondary screening in your blog, I wondered what the heck you were talking about — a special code on your boarding pass. That is, until yesterday when I had a last minute, one-way ticket and got SSSS on my boarding pass. I was "feeling your pain" when my boarding pass came out with that printed on it. As I was standing there in front of God and everyone being patted down, I thought to myself that you go through this all the time. Yes, I do empathize with you.
E-mail No. 3
When heading into a zone where the power might go off, and you are saying you would "kill for a coffee," what you are really saying is that you didn't prepare properly. I have found having a small camp stove, helps amazingly in making dinner, or having hot coffee. Speaking with friends who live in the hurricane zone, they spent time getting ready to ensure that they had food, water, and supplies. One friend is having burgers tonight. Inside, her power stayed on. However if it had not, she would have used the grill.
E-mail No. 4
Your Hurricane description definitely makes us think that Wilma should have been William. Sounded like a man to us: always leaving you in the dark to figure out things for yourself; on again, off again; wringing you out, and never knowing when enough is enough. Hope you fair well tonight. Doesn't sound like you were ever a girl scout, Greta. But you are funny and a good sport. Horse Pasture,
Annie and the rest
Rockbridge Baths, VA
E-mail No. 5
First let me say, that I am an avid fan of you and your show. However, I am insulted that you and the rest of the media now equates any state's success in hurricane response and preparations as being the result of Katrina. We in Florida didn't learn lessons from Katrina, we have been managing hurricanes long before Katrina came around. Our success is based on our government and state leaders having an emergency plan and actually following the plan. I am sure Texans would agree as well. There have been many, many hurricanes and many states have handled them fine, it was New Orleans poor leadership and planning that cost many of their citizens their lives. So, in the future maybe you could say the following "Floridians survived this hurricane from years of planning and preparation."
Melissa L. Khare
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