No long goodbyes or histrionics from North Carolina meteorologist Donnie Cox last night as he calmly explained to viewers that his WCTI-TV studio was flooding from Hurricane Florence and being evacuated, then simply pitched the coverage to a sister station and followed orders to take a hike, moving without ado or sound out of camera range.
Take a look at the video below, along with photos of the flooded station.
Cox had been one of the last remaining members of the WCTI team to leave the tremendously wet building, having pledged to stay put for viewers. “The building has been evacuated, just so that you know,” he said. “We are staying here to keep you up to date.”
But 20 minutes later Cox explained that the water levels in the building continued to rise, and the New Bern-based WCTI was tossing coverage to its sister station in Myrtle Beach. Both stations are owned by Sinclair.
WCTI general manager Matt Bowman released the following statement:
“Our first priority is always the safety and well-being of our staff and we are happy to report that all employees from the WCTI station are safe following a sudden evacuation. Our commitment to delivering critical information to our viewers can, at times, put us in harm’s way, particularly with major weather-related events. As such, we were continuously in contact with our WCTI team throughout the week as we monitored the situation and planned for contingencies. When the conditions in the area intensified suddenly, we made the call to have our news staff evacuate the area and team up with our sister station WPDE in Myrtle Beach to continue covering the storm and providing our viewers with vital, potentially life-saving, information.”
Here is how it played out:
Our sister station, WCTI in New Bern, NC has been evacuated due to water rising around the building due to storm surge. Please keep them in your thoughts. pic.twitter.com/6jAraNgpEZ
— Ricky Matthews (@WCYB_Ricky) September 13, 2018
Eerie video as WCTI's meteorologists finally evacuate due to rising waters mid-broadcast, leaving just the radar of Florence's rain bands looping on repeat pic.twitter.com/9vxFqB8ZXl
— Brian L Kahn (@blkahn) September 14, 2018
— NewsChannel 12 (@wcti12) September 14, 2018