RBR-TVBR News Analysis: Taking a ride on Irene


We rode out Irene in Kill Devil Hills NC, some distance north of where Irene made her initial US landfall and not too far from where the eye passed on its way to the north. Our takeaway: We live in an era in which the access to information of the average person is simply amazing. And broadcasters play a huge role.

Here’s what we thought of the coverage. For starters, we were able to switch back and forth between local television and cable throughout, because against all predictions, we never lost power.

However, our preferred broadcast station, Gray Television’s NBC WITN Washington NC in the Greenville-New Bern-Washington DMA, eventually disappeared from our local Charter cable system. For the most part, we went to LIN Television’s NBC WAVY Portsmouth VA in the Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News VA DMA after that – that happens to be our home DMA according to Nielsen.

The obvious choice among cable options was The Weather Channel.

Our decision to remain on OBX was made with the steady supply of information coming in from media sources, along with many consultations with locals who have lived here longer than us. Some stayed, some evacuated, and we chose the latter.

Part of the reason was the fact that we knew Irene was going to pay a visit with the very people we would likely evacuate to if we had chosen that route – in part, we did not want to leave one place only to get hit somewhere else. We also believed that our house, designed with hurricanes in mind, might be a better option than one inland built to more relaxed standards, and situated among trees less apt to remain standing than our specially-adapted live oak and loblobby pines that like our house have stood up to Floyd, Isabel and countless other weather events.

As for the many reporters we saw on television standing on the beaches, we hoped they enjoyed it. We didn’t notice any locals doing that, and frankly, if our house were right on the beach, evacuation would have been a no-brainer.

What the reporters did, mostly, was alarm our friends and family who knew we were riding out Irene and worried that we were in dire peril.

Luckily, we never lost any of our communications, and we kept a steady stream of information flowing out to loved ones letting them know we were fine via Facebook and email.

We were also able, via Facebook, to get truly pertinent information from other OBX residents. While the storm was actually in our area, social media was one of the best sources of news we had. The other, from broadcast and cable, was the precise location of the eye and the breadth of the atmospheric spin.

All in all, we are feeling very lucky to have come out of Irene completely intact. Some of our neighbors who were victimized not by wind but by soundside flooding weren’t so lucky, but in most of the cases we saw personally, most face mainly cleanup and loss of items that were in storage in lower rooms.

We listened to radio in advance of Irene’s arrival while running errands in our car and while outside building our anti-hurricane defenses. As it turned out, we never had occasion to turn on a radio during the event. We are certain that will not be the case in the event we lose power or cable service in a future event or while evacuating, if that’s the option we choose next time.

We think of people in decades past who lived here and were suddenly hit with storms like Irene without warning, without preparation. They rode out such events whether they wanted to or not, and had no idea what was going or when it was going to be over.

We, on the other hand, had a wealth of information pouring in, many days to prepare and up-to-date information throughout the event. We truly live in amazing times, and electronic communications, and broadcasters, play a huge role in keeping people safe in times of duress.

RBR-TVBR note: Sr. Editor Dave Seyler and family – we at RBR-TVBR glad you made it.