Friday, September 16, 2011
It's not who you know, it's Whom You Know and you know Lonnie Quinn has been moving and shaking since he was on the swim team at Boston College, and probably before that too because he is even from our favorite state Connecticut, and we officially featured him as a Mover and Shaker two years ago:
The best weatherperson anywhere, Lonnie cheers up the world when the weather is not great and announces the great fortune of sunny days-you know the days when Peachy Deegan is wearing her Mott 50 clothes with SPF. As you know, Hurricane Irene was a challenging time for the East Coast recently and Lonnie chatted with Peachy about Irene, the upcoming fall, and good times ahead with Mover and Shaker Chris Wragge returning to Channel 2 in New York.
Peachy Deegan: How did Hurricane Irene compare with other bad rain storms in the past that you have covered?
Lonnie Quinn: What other rain storms? Irene re-wrote the record books. Many of our rivers rose to heights never seen before. Irene ended up making Aug 2011 the wettest month in history. For that matter, Irene made 2011 the wettest summer we have ever endured in NYC.
How are you feeling? We think we saw on your facebook page that you were in a car accident while covering the storm?
Two days after the hurricane, my camera man and I were only 5 blocks away from the worst flooding in NJ when a car slammed into us. Basically, we were just sitting at a red light...the next thing I remember is waking up in the Hackensack Emergency Room. My back hurts but, thankfully, surgery is not going to be necessary. The same cannot be said for my shoulder. The doctors tell me it will definitely require an operation. (That's ok, I dont use my left shoulder that much anyway.)
What about Hurricane Irene surprised you the most?
I had been saying all along that Irene was going to be a storm about the water NOT the wind. That being said, when all that water super saturated the ground, it didn't take as strong a wind to topple the big trees. The biggest surprise for me was that Vermont took such a huge hit. The longer a hurricane (or a tropical storm) stays over land, the weaker it becomes. Apparently no one told that to Irene.
Is there anything more people on the East Coast should have done to prepare for Hurricane Irene?
The coastal areas really did a good job of respecting the warnings. The "sexy" part of a hurricane is the wind. Wind is what grabs the headlines and wind is what dictates a hurricane's strength. Ironically, the biggest killer in a hurricane is not wind but water. People need to respect the danger all that water presents. I spoke on TV that one of my major concers was going to be AFTER the storm. I knew there would be a lot of power lines down and I knew there would be a lot of flooding. That is a deadly combination. It is such a tragedy that a man in our area walked into the water to get a child and ended up being electrocuted. I wish we didn't have to experience things like that.
Why does it take so long for power to be back up for so many people in towns outside of Manhattan in the tri-state area?
This question is probably best answered by a Con Edison employee. My guess is that there were so many trouble spots it just took them a great deal of time to get to them all. On top of that, the flood waters curtailed their efforts as well. Think about this...some of our rivers stayed above flood stage for nearly 3 weeks!
How will Hurricane Irene's consequences influence the weather patterns this fall?
You have heard the phrase, "the calm before the storm"? Well, that phrase should really be rewritten as, "the calm around the storm". As terrible as a hurricane is, the air around the edge of the hurricane is quite stable. You can count on having beautiful weather right before a hurricane and right AFTER a hurricane. Other than that, I don't believe Irene has the ability to change our weather pattern after the fact. 2011 is just going to be a very active hurricane season. This year we are reusing the hurricane names from 2005 (Major storm names have been retired...like "Katrina".) 2005 was the most active hurricane season in history and this year we are not too far behind This year, "Nate" formed during the first week of September. In 2005, "Nate" formed just a little earlier during the last week of August. In 2005 we ended up running out of alphabet letters and had to start using the Greek alphabet to name the remaining storms. Let's keep our fingers crossed that we wont need to buy a vowel.
What do you think is worse: floods, snowstorms or hurricanes and what should we all do to be ready for them?
Without a doubt, there is more property damage and more death caused by flooding and storm surge. Places by the water are most at risk and yet...we all want to live by water. Here is my best advice: Secure your property as best you can 2 days before a storm. Next, if the authorities call for a voluntary evacuation, LEAVE! What is the worst that can happen? You go to a friend's house and you come home to no damage what so ever. As a weatherman, I'm really a public servant. I dont talk about worst case scenarios just so I can hear my voice. I talk about them because they could happen. Unfortunately, with our latest storm, many of those worst case scenarios actually took place.
What are some of your most extreme life experiences you've endured in covering the weather?
I flew with the hurricane hunters into the eye of hurricane Isabel. She was a category 5 with winds of 155 mph. I left from the homestead airforce base in Florida. We flew 2 hours before we hit Isabel off the coast of North Carolina. The outer bands of the hurricane tossed our plane around and it just got worse the closer we got to the eye wall. The eye wall is the most severe part of a hurricane but it also holds the most data. We crossed through the eye wall 12 times...each time I thought the plane was going down. The hurricane hunters have only lost one plane in all the years they have been flying into storms. The planes they often use are c-130's. These prop planes were built for hard jungle landings in the Viet Nam war. The planes are super tough and can withstand almost anything. (But c'mon...I'm in the middle of a hurricane in a plane that was built in the 60s!)
Are you excited to have Mover and Shaker Chris Wragge back to Channel 2 and will you celebrate his return by drinking The Peachy Deegan also with Mover and Shaker Kristine Johnson?
Wragge rocks. This is the team I started with here at channel 2. One of the things I am most proud of is being part of a group that helped put CBS2 back into contention as the best news station in NYC. For the first time in nearly 3 decades, we came out on top in the ratings book. Currently, I work with 2 different anchor teams: Kristine Johnson and Maurice Dubois at 5 and 11pm...Dana Tyler and Chris Wragge at 6pm. When I look at the caliber of those people, I say to myself, "What the heck am I doing here?"
What are your predictions for The Holy War on November 19th? Have you made a bet with Regis (Peachy is dying to especially since this is his last year on air for it)?
[Note: The Holy War is Boston College v. Notre Dame: the only 2 NCAA Division 1 Catholic schools in football]
BC didn't come out of the gate too strong against Northwestern. Regardless, over the years we've had Notre Dame's number so I'm going to say... BC 24 ND 21. (SH@#!! I hope I didnt just jinx us!) No bets with Regis. In fact, I haven's chatted with Regis since I was his "safety net guest" when he worked with Kathy Lee. As an actor on All My Children, our studio was right across the street from Regis. Whenever one of his guests was stuck in traffic or had a flight cancelled, they would grab me to fill in. I dont know if it was good or bad TV, I just always felt bad for the live audience members. Those people came all that way to see big stars and they got...me. Ha!
Were you out on your rollerblades this summer for Citystreets in August-the three saturdays when the city closes Park Avenue for exercise?
U bet I was there. A guy can'd be the self professed "green weatherman of NYC" if he doesn't walk the walk. (Or...in this case...roll the roll.) Gotta keep Mama Earth happy!
What else should Whom You Know readers know about you?
Hmmmmm....I have my wife's name tatooed on me (wouldn't you love to know where!)
How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?
Preferably via Smoke signals