Cyclone Marcia has been downgraded to a tropical low and it’s bucketing as I write this. Residents in Yeppoon and Rockhampton are facing clean up and rebuilding as we brace for potential flooding further south. We live in a tropical climate and this is what happens during our summers.
But recently, the news has gone a little weird when it covers events like this. Ever since the 2011 Brisbane floods, “weather events” have become “24 hour news events”. The thing is that whilst waiting for a cyclone to hit, there really isn’t that much news to cover. Once you have imparted the important safety information and the weather forecast, there is precious little left. But it doesn’t stop our broadcasters trying. Bless them.
This is my imagined version of what happens in news rooms and broadcasts during the lead up to a cyclone.
Behind the News: Cyclone Marcia
News Meeting the night before cyclone coverage begins
Okay everyone, listen up – tomorrow’s news is Cyclone Marcia. There is no other news but Cyclone Marcia, oh and maybe that other cyclone further north, cyclone-whats-its-name. Everyone remember to grab your high-vis raincoats and I don’t want anyone on camera drying their hair. Let’s look wet people!
Newsroom: “We are going to cross live now to our reporter at park-that-nearly-always-floods and find out what’s happening in Brisbane as residents brace themselves for Cyclone Marcia.”
Reporter at park-that-nearly-always-floods: “Hello, I can confirm that it is indeed raining. It did stop raining for a short while and now the rain has started to intensify. At this stage, it looks like there will be more rain and there may be periods of light and heavier rain. One thing is for sure. It’s wet.”
Well that wasn’t particularly interesting. What’s reporter at rough-looking-beach doing? Hmmm… You don’t look wet enough. Makeup! Please pour a bottle of water over reporter at rough-looking-beach’s head. Excellent. Live cross now.
Newsroom: “Thank you for that reporter at park-that-nearly-always-floods. We are now going to our reporter at rough-looking-beach. What can you tell us?
Reporter at rough-looking-beach: “Well, as you can see behind me the waves are starting to get quite rough. There are few brave surfers enjoying the conditions and we spoke to one earlier.”
Bedraggled surfer (may or may not be stoned): “I’ve been up since 4am waiting for this! How awesome is it?”
Reporter at rough-looking-beach: “There you have it, there are some upsides to this weather.”
This is not hard hitting stuff people. Is anything happening? Reporter at place-that-will-likely-be-affected-by-cyclone can you can do something with nothing? Yes? Good. Cross now.
Reporter at place-that-will-likely-be-affected-by-cyclone: “It’s eerily quiet here as residents brace themselves for the worst. People are steadily making their way to the evacuation centre. Calm, but concerned. Right now, there isn’t much wind or rain but you can feel the tension in the air. Something is coming. Something big.”
Oh, that’s good – that’s newsman-ship right there people! Can we cross to the evacuation centre and talk to some people? Someone elderly would be good.
Reporter at place-that-will-likely-be-affected-by-cyclone: “We are talking to Rosie and Julia, two friends who have stood side by side through life and now are surviving the cyclone together. Rosie, how are you feeling?
Rosie: “Oh, it’s bit exciting really init?”
Reporter at place-that-will-likely-be-affected-by-cyclone: “Are you concerned about your homes?
Julie: “No, not really – it’s been through a bit my house – should be fine. Seen a few blows in my time. Main thing is that we are safe and our kids are safe.”
Reporter at place-that-will-likely-be-affected-by-cyclone: “And if you do suffer damage to your property?”
Rosie: “Well, we will lodge an insurance claim. If it’s real bad I’ll stay with my daughter for a while.”
Reporter at place-that-will-likely-be-affected-by-cyclone (slightly disappointed look on face): “There you have it, the resilience of Queenslanders – always down to earth in the face of nature’s fury.”
Oh geez, can we cross to the Premier’s update? At least that Auslan Interpreter is engaging. He really is amazing – Everyone is falling for this cyclone sign language guy