CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell will again lead the broadcast from Florida on Wednesday, as networks dispatch personnel to the Sunshine State to cover Hurricane Ian.
NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt also will anchor from the state this evening. ABC’s World News Tonight anchor David Muir will be in New York, but those plans could change. All of the networks have dispatched correspondents and meteorologists on the ground.
Anchoring from Tampa on Tuesday, O’Donnell told viewers, “Florida is a state on the edge tonight, as it prepares for what could be the biggest storm in years.”
The approaching hurricane, expected to make landfall later on Wednesday, has scrambled schedules. Networks had thought that much of Wednesday’s coverage would be devoted to the next January 6th Committee hearing, but that was postponed on Tuesday because of the focus on the storm.
On CNN on Wednesday, anchor John Berman, in a rather tranquil Tampa, warned of hours and hours of approaching rain, even as forecasters now predict that the hurricane will make landfall about 100 miles south.
The hurricane is expected to hit the state in mid- to late- afternoon, and Berman told viewers that at the current intensity of 155 mph, just short of a category 5 storm, it would be “one of the most powerful storms ever to make landfall in the United States.”
José Díaz Balart anchored his MSNBC show from Bradenton, FL and, among those he interviewed was correspondent Kerry Sanders, who covered Hurricane Andrew in 1992, reporting from Punta Gorda, in the center of where the storm is expected to hit.
Sanders warned of the storm surge. “You can’t gamble on these kind of predictions, because it is really hard to determine,” he said.
Fox News Channel has featured updates from its streaming service Fox Weather, as correspondent Steve Harrigan in Charlotte County, FL, also warning of a surge. Amid blustery winds, he said that the hurricane “strengthened dramatically, and I think it caught a lot of people by surprise.” He also warned that it was too late for people to evacuate, given the difficulty of getting over bridges.
President Joe Biden, at an event on Wednesday, pledged support for the state. “We will be there every step of the way: That is my absolute commitment to the state of Florida.”
More to come.