September 15, 2004

Here is a background piece on how hurricanes create storm surge. You can also click this link for the  Flash movie.   As if a night of devastating wind is not threat enough, Mobile (Alabama) bay is especially vulnerable to a storm surge that, this morning is predicted to be up to 16 feet.

As USA Today explains surges:

Howling winds around a hurricane’s eye create storm surge by piling water up. In the deep ocean, this dome of water sinks and harmlessly flows away. But as a storm nears land, the rising sea floor blocks the water’s escape and it comes ashore as deadly storm surge. An intense hurricane can send a dome of water more than 18 feet deep ashore as the storm hits land.

Yesterday, Ivan’s waves — some up to 25 feet — destroyed homes along the Florida coast. AP reported that twelve-foot waves hit Gulf Shores. A buoy 300 miles south of Panama City registered a 50 feet high wave.

Monitor Water Level, Storm Wind Speeds Live

Here are monitoring stations in Ivan’s path, all on one page.

Here are some selected ones:

Storm Background

Mobile and Gulf Shores are taking the frontal assault from Ivan’s winds. But New Orleans has escaped a doomsday event. 1.2 million people fled New Orleans fearing high water even more than high wind. is especially useful this morning in covering the storm story.
As you watch Ivan, and as you try to understand why the folks in Louisiana were so worried, this special section from The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune is very useful. The piece explains why New Orleans levees are both protection and problems. The special section also explains why the area is so vulnerable to floods.

Storm Prayers

I have seen a good bit of coverage about faith in the face of storms. Journalists, it seems to me, often shy away from covering issues of faith but to do so misses a huge part of how people cope with and prepare for a disaster.

I am always interested in how some believe that prayer can actually turn a storm’s path. I found some interesting online threads, like this one on Google Groups.

Some ask to be spared. Others pray for strength to endure.

This is an interesting story, even outside of the storm zone.  

TV Hurricane Coverage (collection compiled by SouthTV News)

  • WDSU (NBC New Orleans)

  • WVUE(FOX New Orleans)

  • WGNO (ABC New Orleans)

  • WWL (CBS New Orleans)

  • WLOX (ABC Biloxi)

  • WDAM (NBC Hattiesburg)

  • WKRG (CBS Mobile)

  • WALA (FOX Mobile)

  • WPMI (NBC Mobile)

  • WEAR (ABC Pensacola)

  • WJHG (NBC Panama City)

  • WMBB (ABC Panama City)

  • WDHN (ABC Dothan)

  • WTVY (CBS Dothan) 

Live Cameras in the Storm Zone

Good Time to be in Basement Waterproofing Biz

Al’s Morning Meeting opened this note from Matt Busse, a reporter at The News & Advance (Lynchburg, Va.) 

You’ve done a great job so far with hurricane-based story ideas. One that I don’t recall seeing, which some business reporters might be interested in, is how basement-restoration and waterproofing businesses are likely benefiting from all the rain and flooding. All that water has to go somewhere.

Here is Matt’s story.

National Public Lands Day This Saturday

This Saturday is the National Public Lands Day, touted as “the nation’s largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance public lands. Last year nearly 80,000 people built trails and bridges, planted trees and removed trash.” It seems like this is a story that deserves a little publicity before Saturday.

Click here to find a National Public Lands Day site near you.

Here are some stories that papers have published already:

We are always looking for your great ideas. Send Al a few sentences and hot links.

Editor’s Note: Al’s Morning Meeting is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts, and other materials from a variety of websites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed, and a link will be provided, whenever possible.

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Al Tompkins is one of America's most requested broadcast journalism and multimedia teachers and coaches. After nearly 30 years working as a reporter, photojournalist, producer,…
Al Tompkins

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