Isaac has left the building, but the story is far from over. As I dodged standing water so as to not soak my shoes on this Tuesday morning, I was reminded of the amalgam of ‘Isaac mockery’ memes making their rounds online over the weekend. As Floridians, we are used to the ‘over-promise/under-deliver’ method often employed by news teams when a storm threatens. The reporter being battered by wind and rain, the rattling stop sign on an abandoned street corner; we’re afforded these visuals every summer and for many of us it arouses a feeling of cautious skepticism. As conditioned as we are as Florida residents to hold a cynical view of hurricane forecasts (only further reinforced by Isaac’s underwhelming impact), it’s entirely easy to forget that sometimes the real story is what occurs after the real story is over.
While the damage assessment from Isaac’s impact on Florida may only amount to a list of blown over lawn chairs and soggy topsiders, the story does not end there for this tropical hooligan. Another interesting narrative has developed, as Isaac is now poised to form into a hurricane and make landfall on New Orleans, on the seven-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. There’s no need to dredge up any unnecessary memories from one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history, and certainly no need to draw any kind of parallel between the two storms; but storylines drive news, and top stories will once again revolve around Isaac and how it will affect The Big Easy.
The point I’m making here is simple. While some stories don’t quite deliver the ‘Hollywood Blockbuster’ type payoff that news directors and producers seek while hoping for a ratings spike, the bigger story may actually be gleaned once the hype has died down. Will the reinforced levees do their job on Lake Ponchartrain? Georgia is undergoing massive droughts; what kind of influence will Isaac’s weather have on their climate conditions going forward? These are the questions that will be asked, and media sources will be scouring their network for qualified individuals to answer them.
The rain is still saturating us here in Orlando, but the severe storm-threat has all but passed. With Isaac inching towards New Orleans, our thoughts are with those residents, and our hope is that whatever secondary-storyline emerges from the storm’s impact will be one of resiliency and redemption. For those following news such as Isaac, just remember to always be prepared for your expertise to be called on. While the original story may not directly apply to you, there are always after-effects and undercurrents that can and will be explored.
PR/PR Public Relations