Waiting for Earl

September 2, 2010 1:33:53 PM PDT
It's both frightening and exhilarating, the waiting for a storm.

Something's coming - at least to parts of the tri-state area - and while we now have a pretty good idea of who's going to get what, there is this sense of uncertainty and impending power from nature.

Tonight at 11, we're tracking Hurricane Earl, as it vacillates between category 3 and 4, and starts to carom up the Eastern seaboard, playing pinball wizard with its talons of rain and wind.

The hardest hit area will be the eastern end of Long Island, where many residents have seen their tax dollars already spent for rebuilding the beaches battered by the winter and spring storms. And they've been getting the bad news from FEMA and from their insurance companies in the past couple of months: The number of homes now considered in high-risk flood areas has increased exponentially. And that means their flood insurance bills - considered a relative bargain in years past - have now also increased exponentially.

Alas, some of their policies might be tested in the next 24 hours. The Long Island Power Authority is already warning of potential power outages and downed trees.

Meteorologist Lee Goldberg leads our coverage, tonight at 11. And we have several Eyewitness News reporters out in the field, as communities prep for the outer reaches of Earl.

All this comes on the last unofficial weekend of summer - the long Labor Day holiday. And today many peeps had to pull the trigger on their decision about whether to head to the beach, or wait until Saturday, after Earl passes.

We're aware of all this as we prepare for the newscasts today; covering Earl isn't just about the miles per hour of its winds or the breadth of its rain bands. People are affected - whether it's vacation plans, or their businesses, or their homes.

Also at 11, we'll have the latest on a remarkable story out of Washington - a story that would have been our lead had Earl not decided to knock on the seaboard's door. The main players in the decades-old Middle East verbal and military war have decided, after meeting at the White House, to meet again, and try to hammer out a peace process deal.

Yes, we've seen hope dashed before in this horrid conflict. But if you have at least an ounce of optimism in your veins, then you can't help but be buoyed by the sight of Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestine's Mahmoud Abbas sitting with Hillary Clinton and Pres. Obama, and at least making the right sounds about peace in the Mideast.

And one more note, out of nowhere: He may be the first Army chaplain to be killed in battle since the Vietnam war.

A roadside bomb blew up an armored Humvee in southern Afghanistan on Monday. Five U.S. soldiers were killed - among them Army Capt. Dale Goetz from South Dakota.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

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