Occupation: Senior Vice President and General Manager of The Weather Channel
Neighborhood: Northwest Atlanta
Through the rain, sleet and snow
On Sunday, The Weather Channel will be premiering its program, "It Could Happen Tomorrow," with the first episode about what would happen to New York City if a Category 3 storm hit. Was this show inspired by the hurricanes of last year?
No. After the successful launch of "Storm Stories" in 2003, we realized viewers saw the channel as a resource for all weather-related matters, not just when to carry an umbrella. "It Could Happen Tomorrow" was conceived around the premise of how a major US city or region would deal with a natural disaster similar to a disaster of the past. The first episode, completed in April '05, examined the "what if" scenario of a major hurricane hitting New Orleans. When Hurricane Katrina devastated the region, we decided to pull the episode. When viewed today with the imprint of Katrina still in our minds, it is chilling to realize that the production was so prescient.
How did the producers create the scenario laid out for NYC?
"It Could Happen Tomorrow" is based upon scientific data and an examination of the category 3 hurricane that barley missed Manhattan back in 1938 (but did hit Long Island killing hundreds). To accurately portray the computer
generated scenarios of how a category 3 hurricane would impact New York, we worked closely with top scientific experts, local college professors and emergency management experts.
And did you pick NYC to get a category 3 because we are the biggest media market? Or because it really is a threat?
Simply put- because it really is a threat. A 2001 FEMA report ranked New York as the third most vulnerable American city to be hit by a devestating hurricane, ranking right behind New Orleans and Miami. Considering the population density of the city, as well as the overall topography of the island, the potential for a catasphronic loss of life and destruction of the city's infrastructure, including complete devastation of the subway system is quite real. And with scientific data indicating a major hurricane hits the area every 70 years, the time is ripe to educate New Yorkers on the potential threat.
When do NYC viewers tune in? Snowstorms? Torrential rains?
On average, the New York City market delivers our largest audience of all TV markets everyday.
Is NYC more or less prepared in the case of weather emergencies?
If we learned anything from Katrina, it was that we can never be too prepared. Having faced 9/11, a power outage, not to mention the recent transit strike, New York has proven to be quite resilient. In this case, a lot would depend upon timing - how fast the hurricane moved, how much advance warning could be provided, etc. The show does an excellent job of demonstrating that evacuating Manhattan would not be a realistic option and that instead the focus should be on quickly moving residents to the island's center and communicate emergency messages in many languages.
Questions about NYC itself:
Favorite subway line:
The 4 and 5 trains - fastest way to zip through the city when you're hurry
Best/worst gentrification trend: Worst NYC trend?
The closing of historic music venues like The Bottom Line.
Best way to describe a typical NYC winter's day:
Invigorating - even in the blizzard of 1996 when New Yorkers slushed down Sixth Avenue in cross-country skis.
Under scaffolding during the rain: Keep umbrella open or close it?
Depends on when and where you are in the city, as well as how much of the block is covered. In my opinion, as long as you have an umbrella that's not obnoxiously too big, I think it's okay to keep it open.
"It Could Happen Tomorrow" will air on Sunday night at 9PM. The image above is from the website, where you can see the other weather worst case scenarios in the country.