July 23rd, 2008
06:14 PM ET

Gary Tuchman vs. Hurricane Dolly

Gary Tuchman struggles to stand as Hurricane Dolly ravages South Padre Island, Texas. Read his experience below.
Gary Tuchman
AC360° Correspondent

Don’t mess with Dolly

As I write this, much of South Padre Island, Texas is underwater. It looks very much like parts of Wisconsin, Iowa, and Missouri from a few weeks ago, but the way South Padre got to this point has been much more rapid fire...

Hurricane Dolly was not taken seriously by many people who live on this barrier island on the southernmost point of Texas. Not only was she still a tropical storm as she was getting close, but South Padre hadn't been directly hit by a hurricane since 1980. But this barrier island's luck has now changed. The rains and the tropical storm force winds began at around 6am central time and continued into the evening. But it peaked in early afternoon with gusts of over 100 miles per hour. Dolly then made landfall in South Padre Island.

It is impossible for us to ascertain the extent of the damage because so much of the town is flooded and we physically can't drive around. We can't even get back to our hotel because the road to the hotel is underwater. So my CNN crew and I are sitting in one of our satellite trucks in a forlorn parking lot. The truck is shaking from the wind but it weighs 26 thousand pounds, so we feel safe. But we feel sorry for the people of South Texas, who will undoubtedly be dealing with many of the same heartbreaking problems we just saw in the flooded upper Midwest.

Filed under: Behind The Scenes • Gary Tuchman • Severe Weather • T1
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Susan

    Why does the weather report on hurricanes have to be sensationalized. Just report it. Stay out of the wind and just report it.

    July 24, 2008 at 5:11 am |
  2. Lare2

    It's 12:45am (Central Time) here in Laredo Texas and still waiting for the thunderstorms dolly will bring down here.

    I've spoken to people on Brownsville Texas and they say it was a really hard day.

    Power Outages and Phone Lines where down on several parts of the city.

    July 24, 2008 at 1:45 am |
  3. Christopher


    Thank you for your dedication to your job. How else would I really know what a hurricane is really like. I live in the desert.


    July 23, 2008 at 11:25 pm |
  4. EJ (USA)

    Hope you're able to get some sleep soon, Gary.

    July 23, 2008 at 11:09 pm |
  5. Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio


    I can always count on you to take me to where the action is! I am certain that it takes a lot of strength to stand there in that kind of wind. I was worried that at the end of this clip I would see you get blown down the causeway; I am glad that didn’t happen! I hope you got out of there as soon as possible after this shot.

    I see a good long, but well deserved vacation in your near future!

    Take care,
    Jo Ann

    July 23, 2008 at 10:47 pm |
  6. JDSalinger

    South Padre will be just fine. Things are already turning around as it was not as bad as predicted. If you are really interested in helping our economy, take a vacation there in the next few weeks. You will get great prices and find out what most Texans already know: South Padre has great people, seafood, and fishing.

    Sam Malone

    July 23, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  7. EJ (USA)

    Reporters must love putting themselves in danger.

    July 23, 2008 at 8:39 pm |
  8. Annie Kate


    Seems like everytime I see you on CNN now you are either chest deep in flood water or being blown all over the road by a hurricane. I appreciate your coverage but you don't have to stand in the middle of a hurricane where you could be hit and hurt by flying debris for me to believe you when you say the hurricane is bad. Stay safe and hope you get dry pretty quickly and can get back to your hotel soon so you can get some rest. I'm sure that trying to stay upright in the face of those winds was exhausting.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    July 23, 2008 at 7:46 pm |
  9. Donna

    Gary, after this assignment, you deserve a vacation! Far away from the water!

    July 23, 2008 at 7:33 pm |
  10. Victor in Saanich, B.C. Canada

    Gary – Hurricanes – There will be more!!
    Besides that area needed a load of water anyways!!
    Take care though!!

    July 23, 2008 at 7:20 pm |
  11. deborah, OH

    I agree with the rest of the bloggers–Gary looks like Anderson did when he covered the hurricanes.
    Please, stay safe Gary–you have been in so much water this year! We appreciate your efforts-that video was tough to watch. Now please stay inside–We know there's a hurricane there.
    Be safe everyone down there.

    July 23, 2008 at 7:19 pm |
  12. Fay, CA

    Wow, Gary, I hope you stay safe and don't get blow away down there.

    The power of Mother Nature never fails to amaze me–I'll never forget the hurricane season of 2004–maybe it happened before, but it was so weird how these huge hurricanes kept coming one right after the other. I spent many nights (and early morings) that year watching Anderson being tossed around in the wind and rain and getting loopier by the hour as the night progressed and the storm got stronger while still managing to give viewers a clear picture of what was taking place. I don't want to make light of the damage and destruction that hurricanes bring, but I do have to say that I miss AC's on location hurricane coverage.

    July 23, 2008 at 7:15 pm |
  13. Kristina

    Why do news organizations insist on forcing journalists to report in the middle of hurricanes??? If you tell us there's a hurricane outside we will believe you. It's not necessary. First the mid-west floods and now hurricanes – it's like some awful joke you people have been playing on Gary Tuchman for months. Poor guy.

    July 23, 2008 at 5:40 pm |
  14. Megan Dresslar

    Helloooo Gary!!!!
    I love you, That is so horrible hurricane Dolly crashed over the town!!!
    I agree with bloggers, I know that Anderson Cooper was covering other hurricanes. I hope you are stay safe out there, I have learned lot of hurricanes, and watch weather news on CNN. Please be careful you are standing reporter to the viewers. you know what? Gary, You are my hero fan to me!!!! I'm praying so hard for you and safe in the shelter where you are. Take Care Gary............
    Megan D.
    Shoreline, WA
    P.S. My hearts go to South Texas of people........ Hope that people have a place of Shelter.

    July 23, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  15. Audrey Hepburn

    I wish this were being covered more in depth tonight, instead of a panel discussion leaving out more than half the audience. Hurricanes are soooo sexy, don't you think?

    July 23, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  16. Perry

    Gary looks like Anderson when he was covering those other hurricanes.

    July 23, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  17. Lilibeth

    Gary, that was hard to watch! I would have been blown away, literally! Please stay safe out there.

    Edmonds, Washington

    July 23, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  18. Peb - Los Angeles, California

    Gary Tuchman is my HERO!!! What a trooper.

    July 23, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  19. Cindy

    WOW...that was brutal!!

    It seems that Gary has taken over Anderson's job as the "Hurricane Man"! LOL Hopefully he'll get inside and out of that mess unlike Anderson did though!

    I hope the people that live there are safe. My prayers go out to them.


    July 23, 2008 at 4:02 pm |