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July 23, 2008

Renting an office in the eye of a hurricane

Posted: 11:39 AM ET

We received this today from CNN producer Alex Walker, who's on the beach at South Padre Island as Hurricane Dolly comes ashore as a Category Two storm. Alex provides a little background on setting up a live shot from a storm while keeping the team safe (He's with meteorologist Reynolds Wolf, photographer Stuart Clark, field tech Jerry Appleman, and satellite truck operator Michael Humphrey).

I haven't seen a single person on or near the beach this morning. Yesterday, as we started feeling winds and rain from some of Dolly's outer bands, residents and tourists flocked to the shore here to look at the white caps and even do a little surfing. Today, the only people I've seen are media crews covering the story.

Reynolds Wolf (in red), live from the beach at South Padre Island. Photographer Stuart Clark is in yellow.

I rented a 2-story banquet hall/restaurant for our liveshots, so we have enough room to accommodate CNN, CNN NewsSource and Univision. NBC wanted this location, and it felt great to scoop the competition and secure a great spot. We have power, and a safe place to take cover. It's nice to be able to duck inside in between liveshots, as the winds are fierce now. The eye of the storm may pass right over us.

We are stuck on this island, to ride out the storm, as the causeway to the mainland is closed. I'm watching some unbelievable surf right now. Off the balcony is a narrow public beach access between the dunes. Last night, bulldozers piled additional sand – about 20 feet long and 5 feet high – to close the passageway. Water is piling up on the other side. I hope it works!

Alex Walker CNN Science & Technology Producer

Filed under: Flooding • hurricanes • meteorology • Severe weather

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Franko   July 23rd, 2008 2:19 pm ET

What fun, like bungee jumping, skydiving, swimming with polar bears, feel alive,
Surfing, but the chicken sharks are hiding deep below the waves.
Not on TV, or theater, no popcorn, but a real Survivor Experience

Paul C   July 23rd, 2008 3:44 pm ET

Stay safe bro. Just keep your crew away from SW Florida this season!!

S Callahan   July 23rd, 2008 5:15 pm ET

Glad you had first bid on the large site..of Paul says..stay safe...and hope the dunes hold up...too much has been lost along coastlines as it is.

Mark C   July 23rd, 2008 9:01 pm ET

This doesn't seem to have anything to do with science. It looks more like a simple publicity stunt. I'm sure we'll get some "Amazing" footage, with plenty of hyperbole about the "danger" they're in. Enjoy your boondoggle!

Franko   July 23rd, 2008 10:10 pm ET

Great place to hurricane it.
What is hotel address, (and lat, long), so we can google satellite it ?

After the coverage, all rooms booked for the next hurricane experience ?

Jim Williams   July 24th, 2008 12:11 am ET

I agree Paul C. Living here in Bonita Beach I am just fine without a hurricane this year!

Barry Marshall   July 29th, 2008 8:03 pm ET

Smog Images Suppressed in Beijing? No Webcams.

Has anyone out there tried to find a live webcam in Beijing? I cannot. One which I did find has been off the air for weeks. It suggests that the information police have removed them. Alternatively, since it is smoggy, they are not much use.
Personally, I never found that Beijing smog was such a problem for me, it looks worse than it is.
I did not have anywhere to post this. How about a follow-up story on CNN?

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