Savannah media talks on hurricane reporting from the Georgia-South Carolina border

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Georgia South Carolina signs

By Isaiah Singleton, SPJ Student Member and senior at Savannah State University majoring in online & print journalism; staff writer with Savannah State’s student newspaper, The Tiger’s Roar

Savannah, GEORGIA — Expanding in size, Hurricane Florence intensified yesterday, becoming a Category 4 storm, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), but Savannah area officials do not predict any serious impacts from the storm. 

According to the Savannah Morning News article, “Savannah residents can breathe easier as Florence continues to track north.” 

Susan Catron
Susan Catron

Susan Catron, executive editor of the Savannah Morning News and, said that although they are not expecting the storm to badly affect Savannah, their newspapers in Beaufort and Jasper County, South Carolina, up until yesterday began to think up that the storm was going to hit.

NHC also reported that Florence could possibly become even more stronger which will likely produce a “life-threatening storm surge along the coastlines of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia” and possibly as far south as Hilton Head, South Carolina. Storm Surge Watch is also in effect for a portion of the area. 

Savannah morning news logo 2Catron was also watching for reports from South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster after he declared a mandatory evacuation for eight counties along the coast that started at noon on Monday. The evacuation orders for Beaufort and Jasper were lifted by 11 a.m. Tuesday morning. The counties of Beaufort, Jasper and Colleton are included in the Savannah Morning News coverage area. 

She also said that if the storm was to shift in the Savannah direction that Savannah Morning News would figure out what would be the best way to reach their community and would get the information out to them.

“We have a robust online presence and we would certainly get our information out via online, video [their YouTube channel], newsletters, news alerts, Twitter, and other social media. If something shifted this way, we would be ready to let people know as best as we can.” – Susan Catron

“We have a robust online presence and we would certainly get our information out via online, video [their YouTube channel], newsletters, news alerts, Twitter, and other social media,” she said.

“If something shifted this way, we would be ready to let people know as best we can.”

Although the lower South Carolina counties evacuation orders were canceled, the Washington Post reports that more than 1.5 million people have been ordered to evacuate and “catastrophic flooding and destructive winds are becoming very likely in the eastern Carolinas”.

“It’s [the storm] caused a different level of storytelling now in South Carolina because they can’t re-open all the schools right away because they can’t find all the teachers,” Catron said.

“It’s a different type of chaos that the storm brings, it affects everybody in many ways.”

WSAV did a segment on business price gouging that happens before and after a hurricane hits the coast. Gouging can be not just for gasoline but water and even generators. Andrew Davis reports on what the South Carolina Attorney General says about what to do if a consumer feels they have been a victim of price gouging. WSAV YouTube video

WSAV-TV Channel 3 Savannah Investigative Reporter, Andrew Davis said that when a hurricane comes in, it can be stressful but also energizing at the same time.

Andrew Davis mug
Andrew Davis

“I’ve been through enough storms to know you never root for them to come your way, but as a journalist, I also know it’s an important part of our job to inform people, get them ready, and when the storm hits give them a sense of what’s going on and if their island, city, or neighborhood is going to be okay,” he said.

Additionally, Davis said that Facebook Live and Twitter have changed the game because in the modern-day period, everyone that has evacuated can still view what is happening, how the area looks, and the damages that come after the storm.

“So, you [journalists] need to be mindful of the fact that you are the only thing connecting them to home and giving them hope that things will be okay,” he said.

Also the Washington Post, reported that Florence could linger over the southeast for several days after landfall, unloading 15 to 20 inches of rain and isolated amounts to 30 inches.


Isaiah Singleton
Isaiah Singleton

Isaiah Singleton was SPJ Region 3’s 2018 summer intern. He is a senior at Savannah State University majoring in online/print journalism. Singleton is a contributing writer for the University’s student-ran newspaper, The Tiger’s Roar. Raised in Stockbridge, Georgia, writing has always been his passion. During childhood, he wrote numerous fictional stories about his life and what he wanted it to be. 

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