Wednesday, June 21, 2017
THURSDAY, JUNE 22ND., 2917
Every year around this time I get requests for
interviews. But unlike the days when I was an
active reporter doing the interviews.....these are
requests from people who want to interview me!
And I know just what they'll be asking about.
It's the 1972 Tropical Storm Agnes Flood!
Back in '72 I was the News Director of WILK
Things looked bad in June 22nd so I called
my wife to tell her I'd be home late. Turns
out I didn't see her for nearly three days!
When the waters of the Susquehanna River
began to rise rapidly because of the "Agnes"
storm I went to the Luzerne County to call
updates back to my station.
But Civil Defense, the agency that
preceded the Emergency Management
Agency, didn't have a Public Information
Officer. So, when I walked in, I got drafted!
I didn't make the decisions for Civil Defense.
But, most of the time, I was the one who
The one I'm often remembered for was the
one I made on June 23rd as the sirens sounded
and I told area residents it was time to....
"Get out. Get out now!"
A little while later I was sending a report
on our two way radio in the sub basement of
the Courthouse when water started coming
into the room from a drain in the floor.
I always thought water was suppose to go
So when the water came in.....I got out!
Eventually all of us on the Civil Defense
staff had to evacuate the Courthouse and move
to higher ground.
We ended up in the Wilkes-Barre School
Administration building sending hourly
news updates to 13 area radio stations. I
formed and directed that network.
Initially we used an Army Field Telephone
which was wired, literally, through the streets
to the old WYZZ FM. The other 12 stations
re-broadcast our reports at 15 minutes past
each hour and throughout the emergency
we only missed one report.
That's because a couple of kids found our
wire and decided it would make a good
It's been 45 years since "Agnes" paid
her visit and I suspect I'll be telling a few
more stories about those days.
A lot has changed in those 45 years
including, as my photo will illustrate,
Hope you're high and dry and that all
your NEWS is good!