J203, Media Writing, Spring '02

Broadcast assignment details

Due Monday, April 29 at the beginning of class

Write a 45-second news story (about 100 words) based on these facts and comments. Assume the storm just happened today. Think of this assignment as writing a radio news script. You may use quotes as sound bites, but there are no visuals. Here are some broadcast-writing tips.

Wind gusts up to 70 m.p.m. were reported by the National Weather Service in the storm, which began on the south coast of Oregon around 4 p.m. and hit the Eugene area about 4:30 . It was the strongest windstorm to hit Eugene since winds reached 71 m.p.h. in a 1964 storm and 86 m.p.h in the Columbus Day storm of 1962, according to local meterologists. John Fischer, meteorologist at KEZI-TV in Eugene, said the storm caught weather forecasters by surprise. Quote from Fischer: "Nobody was forecasting these kinds of winds until they were happening."

A 50-foot spruce tree blown down by the wind crashed onto two trucks at the corner of East 13th Avenue and Pearl Street in Eugene. It smashed the roof of one truck almost level with the doors. Three men were in the truck. One man was seriously injured and was taken to Sacred Heart Medical Center. The man's name was not available. A hospital supervisor said the man was in stable condition. She had no information about the extent of his injuries.

At least one other serious injury was reported. A woman walking on the Lane Community College campus was hit by a falling branch. No other details about her were available.

Hundreds of trees were blown down throughout the Eugene-Springfield area. Some landed on roofs of houses or other buildings, and some blocked streets, such as 18th Avenue in downtown Eugene and River Road in the Santa Clara area.

Trees blocked both lanes of Interstate 5 about 10 miles south of Eugene, and downed power lines closed Route 126 about eight miles east of Springfield, according to Dave Davis, a spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation. Quote from Dave Putschler, Lane County road maintenance supervisor: "A snowstorm comes slowly, and a flood, you can feel them build and subside. But this one, shoot, we didn't have a tip."

A 70-foot fir tree fell onto the roof of the historic Chambers House in West Eugene. The house is on the National Register of Historic Places. There was no estimate of the damage.

On the UO campus, more than two dozen trees and some power lines were blown down, according to Ron Bloom, of UO Facilities Services. Quote from Bloom: "All downed power lines were quickly and safely secured." Several large fir trees fell along the walkway west of Deady Hall.

The Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) estimated that 18,000 homes and businesses lost electrical power. This is more than one-fifth of the utility's customers. Quote from Lance Robertson, EWEB spokesman: "With the ground wet like it is, you get a big freight train wind coming through like this and boom, you've got trees going down right and left."

The Springfield Utility Board estimated that 10,000 to 12,000 of its customers lost power and the Emerald Peoples Utility District, which also serves customers in Lane County, said all of its 17,000 customers were without power. Quote from Emerald spokesman Bob Mieger: "We haven't had a total systemwide outage like this before. We got absolutely clobbered."

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