by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter, February, 2006

Now! Coverage you can depend on! The news you want, the news you need! All the news! LIVE! From channel 1 studios in Boston, this is Channel 1 news NOW!

[Cut to news studio]

Tom, the Anchor: “Good evening, Osama Bin Laden has been captured, and Belgium has invaded Greenland, but first we go to our top story as a major Nor’easter hits the Boston area!”

[Screen shows small images of nine reporters at different locations, with “snowflake” graphics in the background and a banner title, “The Great Blizzard of 2006” at the top]

Tom: “Our round-the-clock exclusive blizzard coverage begins with chief meteorologist Marvin Gardens.”

Marvin: “This massive snowstorm has dropped nearly a sixth of a foot of snow on the area and half that much is still to come over the next 72 hours. Will your neighborhood we wiped out? We’ll have all the satellite data, GPS tracking, and a full report coming up.”

Tom: “Thanks, Marvin, we now go to Logan airport and reporter Diana Prince. Diana?”

Diana: “Tom, the scene here is one of frustration and long lines.”

[Cut to airport TV screens showing one flight have been canceled]

Lady: “We’ve been waiting in line for thirty minutes.”

Diana: “Were you upset that your flight to Florida was canceled and that you will have to sleep at the airport for the next 30 hours?”

Lady, confused: “Not really, actually, it was only delayed a bit and the clerk at Delta was very nice and said the storm should pass shortly and we’ll leave then.”

Diana [ignoring her]: “Brave words, Tom. That’s indomitable New Englanders.” [Turns to another guy] “And how are you and your family coping in this weather emergency, Sir?”

Man: “Well, you get used to it, ya know, this is New England, you have to expect snow this time of year. You live with it.”

Diana [to camera]: “That’s the scene at the airport, Tom. Stranded travelers with no way home, making the best of a tough situation. Defiant humanity against nature, banding together in a time of crisis.”

Tom: “We now go to the storm command bunker in Framingham and reporter Peter Griffin. Peter?”

Peter: “Tom, Massachusetts safety officials declared a priority one, code red, class alpha alert this morning when news of this powerful storm was detected. With a prediction of as much as a third of a foot of snow before this is over, the 100 member team is ready for anything.”

Official: “It’s a pretty small storm, actually. I’m not sure why you guys are covering it, there’s no foreseeable … ”

Peter [cuts him off] ” … Calming words, as officials here try desperately not to incite a panic. Back to you, Tom.”

Tom: “We have Massachusetts state police headquarters on the line. Trooper, what’s the situation like at the command center?”

Police voice: “Sir, this line is for emergencies only. Please state your business.”

Tom: “This is News center 1, checking in with you during this catastrophic blizzard of the century.”

Police voice: “Sir, we ask that all drivers exercise caution when driving through snow, even storms as small as this. Please keep this channel clear for real emergencies.”

Tom: “This just in, the US economy collapses. Now let’s check how the roads are doing.”

[Montage of disaster movies: People running in every direction, total panic, cars crashing into one another, stock footage of an avalanche]

Tom: “Well, it looks like conditions are treacherous on Massachusetts highways, to stay the least. Our best advice, it you don’t have to go out, don’t. Now let’s go now to veteran WBZ news reporter, Shelby Scott . Shelby, as you may recall, weathered many dangerous storms to get a story … Shelby?”

Shelby, at Revere Beach, in her trademark hat: “Well, Tom, I’m not sure why you called me out of retirement. The waves are calm here, with a very light snow falling and the plows have already sanded the road twice. In fact, it looks like the sun is coming out and — ”

Tom: “Shelby, how does the ferocity of this storm compare with those you’ve experienced over the years?”

Shelby, VERY SARCASTICALLY: “Well, the Blizzard of 1978 was a little bit worse, Tom. Why don’t you–”

Tom: “That was veteran reporter Shelby Scott, saying that this storm has been surpassed only by the storm of the century, the great blizzard of 1978. In other news, we’ve just received word that four members of the Supreme Court have resigned. But first, let’s see how things are going at the supermarket.”

[Close up of a cashier ringing up food, scanner making beep, beep noises.]

Reporter to cashier: “How have you been dealing with the mobs of people?”

Cashier: It’s no big deal. Most folks who stopped by today just needed a few items. It’s such a small storm and all.”

Reporter: “So has rationing begun?”

Cashier: “I’m not sure what you mean. There’s plenty of food for everyone. Oh, sure, we’re selling more shovels and rock salt–”

Reporter: “And they’re all sold out in a mad stampede?”

Cashier: “Oh, no, there’s still a lot. I mean, this is New England, a snowstorm — even one as small is this — is no big deal.”

Reporter: “Tom, the scene here, people scrambling like savage animals to stock up on milk, bread, bottled water, canned goods, electric generators, snowmobiles, emergency transmitters, survival gear, portable oxygen tanks, diesel engines, and far more to try to ride out this impending disaster. Reporting live from the scene, back to you.”

Tom: “Let’s go now to Tricia McMillan at Home Depot.”

Tricia: “Tom, nothing rallies the people of New England like an impending blizzard. This gentleman here has loaded a pallet with 20 sheets of plywood. So, sir, you’re making sure all your windows are secure?”

Man: “Uh, no, this is for the new addition on my house.”

Tricia, ignoring him: “And as you can see, Tom, I’m here in the battery aisle and they’re all gone, scooped up as people anticipate days without power, and a return to the dark ages.”

Home Depot employee: “Excuse me, miss? You need batteries? They’re two aisles over. This is the plumbing section.”

Tricia: “How soon did you run out of shovels?”

Home Depot employee: “Shovels are at the front of the store, with the rock salt. We have plenty, after all, you have to except snowstorms around here in the winter!”

Tricia: “Tom, from where I stand, not a battery or snow shovel in sight. Back to you.”

Tom: “Thanks, Tricia. This just in, a major development toward peace in Iraq. But first, let’s get the full weather report, let’s go back to chief meteorologist, Marvin Gardens.”

Marvin: “As you can see on this map, the wind is holding steady at three miles an hour. As you know, a blizzard occurs when the winds sustain greater speeds than thirty-five mph, and visibility drops to less than a quarter of a mile. So if the wind picks up thirty-two more miles per hour, we’ll be calling this a blizzard.”

Tom: “So this is officially a blizzard.”

Marvin: “Well, no, the wind has to be thirty-five miles an hour, not three, but IF that were to occur, then — ”

Tom: “So it sounds like the best advice is to just hunker down for this blizzard and let the plows do the work. Thanks, Marvin. For our viewer’s convenience we will be running school and business cancellations throughout this newscast.”

[Rolling ticker on bottom of the screen: SCHOOL CLOSINGS-NONE REPORTED]

Tom: “Coming up: We’ll go live to the Mount Washington observatory at the summit of Mount Washington in New Hampshire where whiteout conditions, eight feet of snow and winds over 172 miles per hour are being recorded, and we’ll tell you how soon we can expect those conditions here. We’ll also have storm safety tips, and part twelve of our ongoing series, “Blizzard safety is snow joke!” That’s all coming up so stay with us as we cover this unprecedented storm.”

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