Hurricane

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“Damn, damn, damn,” I muttered. The track of Hurricane “Grace” — the seventh named storm of the year, had turned ninety-degrees and the track now took the eye of the Category Two storm directly into the east coast of Florida.

“JIM,” I screamed at my production assistant. He turned with a serious look on his face. “Get me set up again. We’ve got to do another weather bulletin; Grace just turned west again — towards Jacksonville — right towards us.”

Together we trotted down the hallway to the studio and then Jim slipped behind the large console with more dials and gages on it than a Boeing jet. He slipped on his headset and started talking to the network producer arranging our interruption of regularly scheduled programming — currently a soap opera.

I stood over the large “X” on the floor in front of a green screen — a large green panel that through the wonders of electronics was magically replaced by weather maps as I stood in front of them. Through two large monitors I could see what was actually going out of the studio and right now it showed a large rotating mass of weather out in the Atlantic with me standing in front of it. I checked my clothing in the monitor and decided I was quite presentable.

Jim looked up and said to me, “Ninety seconds, Pam.”

I am Pam David. I am thirty years old, single, good looking, ‘hot,’ and a member of the American Meteorological Society. I majored in meteorology as an undergrad and in business for my MBA. I picked weather as my major even when I was a teenager after an un-forecast Oklahoma tornado wiped out my grandparent’s home and killed my grandmother. My psychologist told me that I had to confront my demons and making it my life profession seemed to fill that bill.

I added ‘hot’ to that brief description of myself because that’s what my boyfriends have told me. I have a trim girly figure and nice boobs — a “C” cup. Also, when the chemistry is right between me and a guy I can really go crazy. That said, I currently have no one special in my life and I haven’t gone crazy for over two years. I’m in a rut.

After I graduated from college I lucked into a job as the weekend weather girl and ‘gofer’ for a TV station in western Idaho. They thought I was ‘cute.’ A year later I catapulted into a weekday morning and lunch job in for a station in central Arkansas. Three years later, I was a lot more suave, smooth and exciting in my delivery. So WJAX-TV — the up and coming Jacksonville network station – recruited me two years ago, and here I am doing everything from noon to midnight that has to do with the weather. They take me seriously.

“Fifteen seconds,” Jim said from his seat at weather central.

We both counted down silently then a fifteen second automated announcement broke into the network program. We could hear the sound of the excited male voice, well modulated but compelling attention from the listeners: “Ladies and Gentlemen, we interrupt your regular broadcast with this very important weather bulletin. Please stay tuned for this critical information.” An alarm buzzed to ensure listener attention to what I’d say.

The announcement screen faded to show me in front of the weather map.

“Good afternoon. I’m Pam David with a live update about Hurricane Grace, now three-hundred miles southeast of Jacksonville.” I stared into the camera with a serious look on my face.

“This Category Two storm, packing winds of over a hundred miles an hour is now headed straight for Jacksonville. We had hopped that the northerly turn the storm took at dawn this morning would result in Grace heading out into the mid-Atlantic, but those hopes are gone after plotting another eight hours worth of storm track data. This storm is aimed right at us.”

I had turned and was making my usual gestures at the green board, showing viewers how the track would sweep the storm right into the Florida-Georgia border.

“The hurricane is currently traveling at twenty miles an hour. If this speed is sustained, the eye of the storm should arrive here tomorrow morning. We are already feeling the fringes of this storm and rip currents along the beach have been evident since last night and are now dangerous to swimmers.”

The screen changed to show winds blowing debris around in some earlier storm.

I went on, “Winds are expected to pick up from the current light breezes. By midnight we expect winds to be consistently over fifty miles an hour. Winds will increase hourly as the eye approaches. Just outside the eye winds will exceed a hundred miles an hour.”

I engaged the camera again as the clip of winds ended.

“Folks, I want to add my warning — my stern personal warning to all the others you’ve been hearing. NOW, is the time to secure loose items and to get to high ground if you live in low-lying areas.” I stared into the camera again, “FURTHER, I think conditions in the ocean favor a strengthening of this storm. I think we might have a Category Four or Five by the time Grace reaches us. This is a deadly storm, and you czech experiment porno should take such precautions.”

I ended the bulletin as we usually did, “We’ll keep you updated throughout the rest of the day. We now return you to the regularly scheduled program.” I watched as the monitor showed me fading to the Bulletin frame and then that faded back into the soap opera. I wondered how people could watch that stuff when there was so much ‘real stuff’ happening out there to be involved in.

Jim rose from his panel and said, “We’re good for now. Let me know when you want to go on again. I’m not going home. It’ll flood out anyway, and I couldn’t get back here tomorrow.” I nodded and gave a sympathetic look.

Knowing I would be here all night I slipped into our “Nap Room” and lay down for what I thought would be a few minutes. When I awoke Jim was standing beside the cot shaking me gently.

“Pam? Hey Pam, wake up. Time to come back to work.” Jim had his enigmatic smile that I liked so much.

“How long was I out?” I said through my grogginess.

“It’s almost five o’clock. Time to start our ninety-minute drill. I figured you’d want to check the Hurricane Center again before you go on. You’ve got fifteen minutes.”

I mumbled, “Thanks, Jim,” and stood. A quick stop in the ladies room and I was ready to go. Now I needed something to say.

The National Hurricane Center had a four o’clock update. Things were strengthening, and the storm’s relentless track towards us was unabated. I’d be the star of the news for the next few hours as we did the news.

Jim stuck his head in my cubicle, “Hey Pam, we just got the word you’re also going to do a two-minute cameo on the national network news at 6:42 p.m. You’ll segue over a clip showing the storm’s track from the coast of Africa to its present position, and then your ‘sweeping into the U.S.’ routine.”

“OK,” I said crisply; here were my fifteen minutes of fame. I’d never done a national feed before. Wow!

Two hours later I was exhausted but exhilarated. It wasn’t the standing and dancing around in front of the green screen that made me tired, it was the feeling of responsibility that people were watching me and going to bet their lives on what I told them. I had to get it ‘right.’

I’d just sat at my desk when Jim appeared at my cubicle doorway. “Hey, Pam. NBS wants you to do oceanside bites and the weather channel even wants our feed — all their people are up north or on Hatteras waiting for the sweep north.”

“How am I getting around? You driving? Who’s the camera?”

“Not me. I’ll be talking to you from here on the satellite link. They’re bringing in a new guy. He was a big cheese in NBS, but is now retired. He’s taking our truck. Don’t let him prang it up under a tree or building. He should be here in thirty.”

I’d kept a couple of changes of clothing at the station, but most of the duds were more dressy and more suitable for looking “pretty” in front of the evening news camera.

“Hey, Jim,” I shouted, “What about the eleven o’clock spot?”

He replied from partway down the hall, “You’ll do that from Amelia Island — on the beach. You should have just enough time to get out there, get set up and broadcast. I’ll update you by cell on anything on the wire about the storm.”

I shrugged and headed off to assemble some storm clothes. Thirty minutes later I’d found some slacks and scrounged a couple of men’s polo shirts. I had some running shoes at the office, so that’d be what I wore under my weather gear. I looked great in foul weather gear — all you could see was my pert nose sticking out from under my WJAX baseball hat. I pushed my hair through the back of the hat and headed back to my cubicle to pick up my laptop and purse.

There was a very large man asleep at my desk when I turned into my cubicle. He was wearing jeans, rubber boots, and a new NBS polo shirt. His head was back showing a ruddy and tanned complexion and a handsome face that had seen a lot of mileage. I could tell he was tall and trim since there was so much leg between my chair and the edge of my desktop where his boots carefully rested. His muscular arms were folded over his chest. There was a tattoo on one arm — a smiling dragon.

“Ahem,” I coughed to see whether I could wake him.

One steel-blue eye opened and looked at me. The other followed. He uncurled from his repose and put both feet on the floor.

“You Pam?”

I held out my hand, “Yes, Pam David.”

“Hi. I’m Doug Saunders at your service – chauffeur, network guru, hurricane hunter, and all-round good guy. I’m told we should hit the road pretty soon since you’ve got a couple of feeds for the late news.”

“Let’s go,” I said as I stuffed my laptop into my briefcase along with my wallet and my traveling cosmetics kit.

It was already raining as we got into the network van. Doug clearly knew his way around a truck like this for his moves were definite and betrayed a familiarity with the equipment czech first porno video that I thought belay years of experience. I looked at Doug trying to guess his age: somewhere between forty-five and sixty five, I decided.

As we drove I asked, “So tell me about Doug Saunders? I was told you’d retired. Is this a special gig or something?”

He laughed, “Yea, sort of. I had twenty-five years in the military. I did Navy and Marine news and broadcasts all over the place – usually from war zones when we had one. After that I spent fifteen years with NBS, mostly around Washington. Inherited some money, thought I’d try fishing, but got bored and put my oar back in the water with NBS — and here we are driving into the middle of a hurricane. My thing! At least, no one’s going to shoot at us.” I narrowed my guess about Doug’s age down to about sixty.

We swapped stories and then talked about what we were going to do for the late news and then about overnight feeds.

Just before ten o’clock we pulled into the Amelia Island Resort — the pleasure spa that WJAX had arranged as our home base for the next twenty-four hours. Doug and I introduced ourselves to a security man that greeted us. The place had been emptied, and all the staff had left for the mainland. The one security guard had stayed behind to help secure the place and anchor loose equipment and outdoor gear from flying around.

Part of the resort consisted of two large three-story condo buildings. The resort rented out most of the condos and nice folks that they were; they set aside a two-bedroom condo for Doug and me to use. It faced the Atlantic Ocean, but at this hour all we could see was a pit of black from the little balcony. We put the storm shutters back down and went back to set up the van.

Doug pulled the van up close to the building on what we figured would be the leeward side of things. He put up the satellite antenna stopping just at the roofline to minimize wind impact on the antenna. With the help of the security man, he secured the antenna boom to the building for some added stability. Doug really did know what he was doing.

I watched in the van as he fired up the electronics and the panel. Suddenly, I heard Jim’s voice over the speaker, “Hi Pam; sneaky way to get an overnight at a resort. Find a hurricane and this whole place rolls over to be your servant.”

I talked into the van’s microphone, “Hi Jim. It was a dark, stormy night in the Hartz Mountains; greetings from Amelia Island. They closed up the place just for us. Just one security guard here.”

Jim updated me on the weather and told me he’d e-mailed me some of the screens they’d splice into my broadcast at eleven. I booted up my laptop as we talked and soon was logged into the resort’s wi-fi network.

The surface winds were now over forty knots, and the eye of the storm was about a hundred and sixty miles from landfall with top wind speed of a hundred-twenty — the storm was a Category Three. I noted that Amelia Island was directly in the center of the projected landfall of the eye. The rest of the maps and satellite photos were predictable. I made some notes on a three-by-five card to refresh my mind just before we went on the air and then suggested to Doug that we find a place to set up the camera.

At eleven I was standing beside the pool at the resort. Doug was a good cameraman; he knew his stuff. The rest of the feed took care of itself. I did my cameo in the news segment of the broadcast and then ten minutes later did an in-depth update on Hurricane Grace and what to expect along the Florida and Georgia coasts.

I suggested to viewers that given the growing intensity of the storm and its track right for the city that viewers check in at four a.m. for a special storm update. We’d set that up with WJAX earlier at Doug’s suggestion; we’d probably be live at least every half-hour after that.

Doug and I folded up the van and went up to the condo that had been assigned to us.

For the first time, I felt a little surge of sexual excitement as we went in the door. He seemed quite comfortable sharing the quarters with me, and he’d certainly made no move on me. Yet, I felt chemistry between us — really strong chemistry. If there were pheromones about, I was certainly receiving his.

“He’s old enough to be your father,” I told myself. That didn’t work. I still felt chemistry. I didn’t know what to do about it, but he did.

“Pam, we’ll have to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in four hours. We both better get some shuteye. I have an alarm clock.” Doug shuffled off towards one of the bedrooms.

I lay down and quickly drifted to sleep, assisted by the sound of the wind and rain hitting the storm shutters.

“Pam? Pam? It’s time to get up.” I heard the voice from afar. I had this slight feeling of panic as I wondered where I was. The voice was more persistent. “Pam, get up. Time to go.”

“OK. OK. I’m awake. I’ll get moving. Thanks Doug.” I was fully aware now. I czech game porno listened to the storm sounds for a minute. They were more ferocious than when I’d gone to sleep. I went to turn on the bedside light but found only darkness.

“Hey, I’ve got no power. Is everything out?” I yelled as I fumbled towards the bedroom door.

“Yes,” Doug said in a loud voice from the direction of the living room. “Do you need a light?”

“Yes,” I replied. “I have nothing. I forgot we might be in the dark. Funny I tell all my viewers to be sure to have flashlights but don’t take my own advice.”

Doug opened my bedroom door and handed me a flashlight. He didn’t appear to notice that I was just in the polo shirt and bikini briefs. I went back to my bedroom to redress. I decided to skip the makeup since I could tell anything I put on would be washed off in seconds outside the building.

Doug was waiting for me when I came out.

“Ready?” he asked.

“Let’s see what we’ve got,” I replied.

We stepped out into the maelstrom. The wind was blowing about sixty miles an hour and the rain was nearly horizontal. Doug pulled me along the short distance from the door in our section of the condo to the van. He pushed me into the van.

Doug started a generator on the van and fired up all our equipment. It was a quarter to four in the morning. I was wondering how I’d be able to talk and do a broadcast from outside the van.

Doug came back into the van, slamming the door behind him. He shed his parka and sat at the console.

“I need Internet, or access to the National Hurricane Center satellite broadcasts or better yet, both,” I told Doug. He pointed to the other console in the van and up on the screen popped the latest satellite photo of Hurricane Grace.

“Oh my God,” I said. “It’s gotten bigger. It’s huge.” He told me how to flip the screen and check things on the Internet. I madly dialed in screen after screen of meteorological data on the storm. I was swearing aloud as every screen brought worse news than the one before it.

I heard Doug talking to Jim at WJAX. He gave me a five-minute warning and suggested we go set up the camera someplace where I could broadcast.

I put on my foul weather gear, and I followed Doug from the van, pushing the door shut behind us. We set up on the leeward side of the building. It was still windy but with the camera against the building and me about ten feet away it wasn’t too bad.

After setting things up, Doug yelled, “Sixty seconds.” I nodded.

A minute later Doug cued me. I started talking rapidly.

“This is Pam David broadcasting from Amelia Island, just off the coast from Jacksonville. I’m standing on the protected side of this resort; however, the winds are howling at sixty to seventy miles an hour and the rain is horizontal on the other side of this building.”

I went on, “I have some bad news for you. Hurricane Grace is now a Category Five storm. The warm waters of the Atlantic have fed energy into this storm, and it is now a killer. If you are in a low-lying area this may be your last opportunity to move to safer ground. Get to high ground!”

“The eye will likely pass directly over me and very close to the downtown areas. Flooding can be expected over a wide area. Winds near the eye will be over one-hundred-sixty miles per hour. Rainfall is estimated at three to six inches an hour over a wide area with heavy flooding, particularly near the St. Mary’s River and all feeder streams. Again, get to protection and high ground — NOW!”

I gave some other statistics about the storm then had a thought. I told viewers, “If Doug my cameraman can follow me, I’m going to step out from behind this protected wall and show you the power of this storm.” I walked backwards towards the corner of the building where there was no protection.

As I came into the wind stream, my body was lifted and carried about ten feet before I landed in a rolling pile on the ground. I flipped and flopped over a couple of more times before I could crawl, on hands and knees, back into the protection of the building. Doug started towards me, but I waved him away.

Doug motioned that I was still on camera. “Wow!” I said to our viewers, “That was a little more than I expected. I should tell you I weight about a hundred and twenty pounds and stand five-foot-six. To be blown around like that shows you the power of this wind, and when the eye gets here it will be over twice this speed — that’s at least four times the energy. Winds will be around 160 miles an hour! If you live in a mobile home or an older home not built to new hurricane protection standards, you need to find better quarters to ride out the storm. Get going — NOW!”

“This is Pam David, signing off for now. We’ll try to be back in a half hour with an update.” We ended the feed.

Doug came and put his arm around me, “That was stupid!” he admonished me. “You could have been hurt or hit by debris. That’s why we’re on the protected side of the building. Don’t do that again.” He pulled me towards the van, grabbing the camera and tripod with his other hand.

In the van, he cast an evil eye at me.

“I’m sorry, Doug,” but I had to do something so people watching would get a sense of the power of this storm. I’d do it again, but next time I’ll set it up with you. OK?”

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