Busy, busy, busy.
There is a heightened level of anticipation when a big storm – especially one with the potential for a devastating impact – heads north of the Canada-US border.
No matter where the point of contact, The Weather Network is primed and ready to go to work for our viewers.
Case in point: there is a massive, complex system that is likely to slam much of southern and central Ontario with a wintry mix of potentially paralyzing freezing rain, ice pellets, and snow Thursday into Friday.
This storm has the makings of being historic, considering the time of the year.
People who have taken their winter tires off may face dire repercussions. If you're travelling on Thursday, whether it be through the air or by ground, expect delays and the potential for accidents on roads and sidewalks.
Hence there is a lot of work to do here at The Weather Network.
For me, active weather is intense. It's also the most rewarding aspect of what I do. As a journalist who specializes in weather and environment-focused stories, this is my opportunity to inform the public, for the public good.
This is a responsibility that we take seriously here at TWN.
Here’s a breakdown of how we prepare for a big storm.
4:30 p.m. ET: The gathering of information begins with a briefing in the newsroom. Nicole Karkic and I meet with meteorologists to get an idea of what the lead story of the night will be. Our briefing is headed by meteorologist Dr. Doug Gilham. He’s on top of the Ontario storm in all respects. We listen as he breaks down the synoptic scale characteristics, goes over computer models and summarizes the system's movements and projected precipitation totals and whereabouts.
Our job is to take this information and turn it into short clips that deliver topical information to our viewers.
5:25pm ET: I’m in the TWN sound/radio booth, pre-taping clips with respect to the national and regional forecast for audio broadcast. That takes me about 25 minutes to complete.
6:10pm ET: Talking with my producers Kevin and Robyn about how the evening's show will unfold.
6:15pm ET: Nicole is checking our Storm Line. We usually receive lots of calls from across the nation. Today, most of our calls are from southern Ontario.
6:30pm ET: Off to wardrobe. I spend about half an hour getting dressed, putting on my make-up, and making myself presentable.
6:45pm ET: Getting ready to go on-air. This involves getting framed, “keying” for the green screen, going over the maps, having my microphone and my IFB - an internal earpiece that connects me to my producer - checked.
I also go over video clips and check in with our live reporter on the scene.
7:15pm ET: We are off and running. On Wednesday, our first live hit (or segment) was with "StormHunter" Mark Robinson, who was standing in a rain shower in Oakville, Ontario.
Adrenaline always goes up as my producer counts from 5 to 1 in my earpiece. I’m passionate about telling weather stories, and this southern Ontario story is a good one, with lots of active weather and in April, no less.
Time to get down to business having fun while doing so.
I love every minute of it.