Reporting on the weather doesn’t sound like a dangerous job does it? How hard can it really be to show up at a TV studio and stand in front of a green screen reading from a teleprompter? That doesn’t exactly sound challenging.
But what about when they step out of the studio and go out into the world to bring viewers the latest in weather news? Well, that’s when things start to get interesting and unlike their counterparts in the warm dry studio, these reporters need to have their wits about them, especially when dealing with something as unpredictable and downright dangerous as mother nature.
Out on the streets, anything can happen. Storms and hurricanes can bring gale force winds strong enough to lift a grown man off his feet; unpredictable lightning could strike at any time; drivers could lose control of their cars at any moment, and flying debris might bring death faster than you can blink your eyes. It’s beginning to sound like a job you really wouldn’t want to do, right?
Today we look at moments captured on photo and video where crazy brave weather reporters almost died trying to report on the latest metrological developments. Hold on to your hats— this could get frightening!
15 A Bit Of A Blow
In this clip from the news show, Good Morning Britain meteorologist Laura Tobin gets a little more than she bargained for when she bravely ventured out to Blackpool beach to report on Storm Gertrude. This storm swept through the UK in January 2016 leaving a trail of chaos in its wake. It brought massive waves, incredible 144-mile per hour wind gusts and heavy rain and snow and left thousands stranded without electricity.
In this video, filmed on the 29th of January 2016, Laura tries to do a report on the upcoming storm but found herself severely hampered by the strong winds – which were just getting started. You might watch this video and think it doesn’t look that dangerous but watch how she struggles just to keep upright and think about what might have happened if the strong winds had picked up any debris.
14 Hold On Tight!
Jeff Morrow is a reporter who doesn’t seem afraid to brave storms that would have the rest of us running for cover. In this clip, he’s outside on the street in Pensacola Florida during Hurricane Dennis when the wind hits and he’s forced to hang on for dear life. Just look at how the stop sign behind him starts to spin like a top in that wind – frightening! If that sign had broken free and got swept up in a gust it may have been the last weather report Jeff ever did. Luckily for him, it didn’t.
Hurricane Dennis occurred during the record-breaking 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. The storm killed 88 people in the U.S. and Caribbean and caused $2.23 billion in damages to the United States.
13 That’s A Piece Of Roof
Stephanie Abrams is certainly a woman with guts. But guts won’t be enough to save you when you’re doing a live report while a hurricane sweeps through the area and heavy stuff starts flying around.
In this clip, she’s doing a report on the progress of Hurricane Frances, which was the third major hurricane of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season. This was filmed about halfway through the storm's lifecycle which started around the 24th of August 2004 and finally dissipated on the 10th of September. In the footage, Stephanie draws our attention to the intense gusts of wind that are busy ripping off pieces of the roof of the building she’s on and throwing them around as if they weighed nothing at all. The storm claimed 49 lives and the damages totaled $12 billion.
12 “Getting Hard To See”
Does this guy just live for thrills? Here’s Jeff Morrow again – this time reporting on Hurricane Wilma in Florida. He appears to be standing on the side of a building with a low edge which really isn’t the safest place to be when the wind is gusting at these kinds of speeds. The force is so strong that at several points during the video it forces him to his knees and he has to try and support himself so that he doesn’t, literally, blow away.
Hurricane Wilma which battered Cuba, Mexico and South Florida in the US between the 16th and 27th of October 2005 was the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Atlantic basin. The highest wind speeds reported during the storm were 185 miles per hour and it claimed no fewer than 87 lives.
11 Let’s Just Ride This Out
When a storm hits it’s likely that most of us are ready to do the responsible thing (i.e. head for shelter). But if you’re a weather reporter, then a breaking storm is your time to shine, and get out there and report on the weather.
I’m almost certain that Jim Cantore must have been regretting his career choice in this video. He’s trying to report on the progress of Hurricane Issac but it’s not as easy as it sounds. While he’s still explaining about the report-breaking wind gusts, one hits him and it’s enough to force him to his knees. The rain comes down so hard that for a moment you can barely make him out on film. I’m pretty sure he was wishing for a warm studio and a green screen at this point!
10 Typhoon Nanmadol
Typhoon Nanmadol was a 2011 tropical cyclone that made landfall over Taiwan, China, and the Philippines resulting in 38 deaths and damage estimated in the region of $26 million dollars. The storm, which lasted for 10 terrifying days boasted wind speeds in excess of 160 miles per an hour and drenched the affected area which massive downpours.
The weather was dangerous – especially down near the coastline where the force of the storm created massive waves easily capable of washing people straight off the shore. The TV journalist in this picture almost became part of the story herself when she stood with her back to the waves. A huge wave breaks behind her and she’s almost swept off her feet. Anything to get the story, right?
9 Near Miss
Wind, rain and flying objects aren’t the only things you need to look out for when you’re doing a live weather report. Don’t forget about lightning which can strike anywhere, anytime, as this journalist almost had to find out the hard way.
In this clip Weather Channel meteorologist Mike Seidel barely misses being struck by lightning during a live stream of the AMHQ show. This took place in New Orleans, Louisiana on March 11, 2016.
Lightning strikes kill about 24,000 people worldwide every year and another 240,000 people are injured by near misses. Mike Seidel can count himself very lucky – he very nearly became a statistic right on camera. The moral of the story? Don’t stand outside when there’s thunder and lightning, no matter how brave you think you are!
8 Blizzard Of 2015
Blizzard conditions in 2015 almost brought New York to a standstill as eastern parts of the United States were covered in thick snow and belted by strong winds. One brave reporter went out onto the streets to bring viewers more news on the breaking story – and almost became a story herself!
WNBC’s Stacey Bell bravely ventured out with her crew to film scenes from the almost deserted main roads in the area, commenting that many drivers had taken note of the snow warnings and were remaining inside. However, a few cars were still on the roads and it’s one of these cars that came dangerously close to wiping Stacey out as it started to slide on the icy roads. I’m sure her blood ran cold when she watched this video later!
7 Hurricane Ike Blows Reporter Off His Feet
Hurricanes are no laughing matter as anyone who has lived through one will tell you. But this short video is easy to laugh at because it’s not often that you see a man literally swept off his feet (and into the bushes). Yes, those wind gusts in the eye of the storm can really play havoc when it comes to reporting. The highest wind speeds recorded during this hurricane exceeded 145 miles per hour!
This video was filmed during Hurricane Ike, a powerful tropical cyclone which bulldozed its way across the northern parts of America in September 2008 resulting in almost 200 deaths and over $37.5 billion worth of damage. It was the third costliest storm in U.S. history topped only by Hurricane Sandy (2012) and Hurricane Katrina (2005).
6 Dangerous Shot
Hurricane Ike left almost 200 dead and hundreds of thousands of people without electricity and running water. It destroyed thousands of homes, leaving people stranded while they waited for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA). The search and rescue mission that followed was the largest of its type in Texas history. FEMA was heavily criticized for its slow reaction to this 2008 emergency.
We’re not sure what this reporter was thinking (and if he was thinking at all) but it’s probably not a good idea to stand with your back to the ocean when a storm is whipping up mountainous waves. We get wanting to be close to the action but this reporter was incredibly lucky that he didn’t find himself swept out to sea.
5 The Roof Just Came Off
This video was uploaded to YouTube back in 2008, although it’s unclear which storm the reporter was covering. We do know that the footage was shot on the northeastern tip of Galveston Island; a barrier island which lies in the Texas Gulf Coast about 50 miles south-east of Houston.
The reporter – Mark Boyle – and his cameraman brave the harsh conditions to film what the coast is looking like just a few hours before a major storm makes landfall. At this time the winds are incredibly powerful, so powerful that while Mark is speaking the roof of a building behind him is ripped off and blown away. Luckily he wasn’t in the path of the debris otherwise, this could very well have been his last report.
4 In The Storm
This news clip is a little long and drawn out but some of the footage captured is truly terrifying. Marc Dillard is the reporter whose voice you hear as he brings you the latest on a tornado that is sweeping through the city. He continues to drive into the eye of the storm until eventually power flashes and falling trees and debris force him to back him.
This storm was referred to as an F1 tornado. The force of tornados is measured on the Fujita scale and their rating depends on the level of destruction on man-made structures and vegetation. An F0 tornado is the lowest end of the scale and may cause light damage while an F5 is the strongest and can carry the power to lift homes clear off their foundations.
3 Car Blown Off The Road In Tornado
The Weather Channel meteorologist Mike Bettes and his film crew were lucky that they escaped this news report alive. They were covering the story of the 2013 El Reno tornado when the storm hit the car they were traveling in and rolled it over several times into a field alongside the road. The sports utility vehicle they were traveling in was severely damaged after being thrown about 200 yards and the driver suffered broken ribs and a fractured neck.
There were quite a few incidents that day involving storm chasers who couldn’t get away from the tornado in time. The tornado occurred on the 31st May 2013 and is to date the widest tornado ever recorded measuring a staggering 2.6 miles wide with winds up to 295 miles per hour!
2 Trees Vs. High Winds
Alright, this one is a little ironic. A local TV reporter and cameraman head out to cover a weather story about high winds in their area for a live morning broadcast. The story centered around a street in their area (Mira Mesa, California) which numerous trees had been toppled over by the forceful gusts. And while they are preparing the story what do you think happened? Yep, that’s right – a tree fell on them. Proof once again that being a weather reporter may be much more dangerous than you think.
Thankfully the photographer managed to call for help and he and the reporter were rushed to a nearby hospital. He suffered a compound leg fracture while the reporter sustained serious injuries that required surgery. It’s safe to say they’ll be a lot more cautious of high winds in the future.
1 Mind The Snow
This American weather reporter didn’t come close to death but we’re sure he watched this tape and wished that the ground would just open up and swallow him. We don’t know what he was thinking. He’s standing by the side of the road (covered in snow) doing a report and talking about snow plows. He sees the snow plows coming. And he just continues to stand there until he’s knocked over by a pile of snow. And then only does he decide to move.
What would have been really brilliant was if we could have seen this from the snow plow drivers perspective because we have to know that they were killing themselves laughing about the reporter that they buried in snow. Pretty sure he’ll be keeping his distance when he sees them coming in future.
Sources: latimes.com, 10news.com, youtube.com, metro.co.uk
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