News crews prepare to cover Hurricane Florence along the coast

News crews stay put to cover Florence

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - As Hurricane Florence makes her way to the coast, thousands of residents from the Carolinas and other nearby states have evacuated. However, many stayed behind, including news and weather teams who will continue to provide coverage of the storm as it hits.

Kolbie Satterfield is a reporter for WCSC, the CBS-affiliate in Charleston, South Carolina. She said she and her photographer are checked into a hotel, along with another crew, in Georgetown County. She said other crews from her station are positioned along the coast in order to provide full coverage of Florence’s potential impact.

“It’s going to be really busy and a super fluid situation,” Satterfield said. “I feel like journalists are planners as much as they can be, in this profession. It’s super hard, and you get kind of anxious because you just don’t know what the storm is going to do or what the next few days are going to look like.”

Satterfield said crews will begin 12-hour shifts to provide wall-to-wall coverage beginning at midnight going into Friday in anticipation of Florence making landfall. She said she had to prepare her home, taking the same advice she had been giving viewers over the past few days about preparation.

“I don’t know what conditions will look like where I live,” Satterfield said. “I just had to get everything prepared for the wind, rain and the flooding.”

Satterfield covered the lane reversals that went into effect on some of South Carolina’s highways to help traffic flow as people evacuated. She said she noticed many people make the decision to stay put.

“Here in Georgetown County, where they’re actually under a hurricane warning right now, there are not very many people in the shelters,” Satterfield said. “40 percent of the people in this county are under evacuation. A lot of people aren’t leaving. I’ve been talking to people all day, and they say they’re going to wait it out.”

Satterfield described driving through Charleston as people were evacuating as “eerie.”

“It almost gives you chills because you’re going somewhere you’re telling people to leave,” Satterfield said.

Vernon Turner, a Meteorologist for Spectrum News, said he and his team have been tracking Florence from their station in Raleigh for nearly a week and a half.

“Obviously, we can’t leave and we’re actually going into the danger,” Turner said. “Our reporters are actually out live on the coast as the storm surge continues and the water gets higher and higher.”

Turner said he had to take the same precautions he had been reminding his viewers about for the past week.

“The one things I ran into at the grocery store was bare shelves,” Turner said. “It all worked out, but at one store I saw they were limiting each customer to one case of water.”

Turner, who is from North Carolina, said some of his family members evacuated while others chose to hunker down.

“It was a bit stressful figuring out what everyone is doing,” Turner said. “For me, I’m just prepared. This could be the most catastrophic flooding North Carolina has seen in modern history, but obviously the job comes first because we have to make everyone aware.”

Both Turner and Satterfield said they prepared their hopes, they are booked at hotels through the weekend and they are unsure of exactly how long the impact of Florence will last or the effect the storm will have on their homes. However, they said keeping their viewers informed is their main concern.

WCSC is a sister station of WSFA 12 News. Turner is also a former employee of WSFA 12 News.

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