CNN’s Bonnie Schneider picked a good time to become a television meteorologist. Since she graduated from Boston University and got her first on-air job, the world has continued to get warmer and extreme weather events have become more common throughout the country.
While they provides rich subject matter, the floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and droughts Schneider follows can be devastating to the communities they hit. When media attention leaves an extreme weather event, the insurance industry is usually arriving on the scene.
On Oct. 15, Schneider will cross paths with executives and claims adjustors when she gives the keynote speech at the First Party Claims Conference at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Warwick. Schneider will touch on many of the subjects in her first book, “Extreme Weather,” and the subject of a new DIY Network show she co-produced called “Last House Standing,” about bad storms and how property owners can deal with them.
PBN: Is the weather really becoming consistently worse right now?
SCHNEIDER: I think it is. If you look at 2011, as an example, which is when I was writing my book, it was an epic year for natural disasters: In terms of tornadoes it was one of the worst ever. [More than] 500 people were killed in tornadoes in 2011. You might think 2012 wasn’t so bad for tornadoes, but we had other extremes: we had the worst draught ever recorded in history. We had some of the worst wildfires in New Mexico. We might not have had the exact same type of extreme weather year to year, but we are seeing more instances of it.
PBN: Of the weather events you’ve covered, what ranks as the most extreme?
SCHNEIDER: A lot of my book includes personal accounts from people in extreme weather events. One is a man who described what it was like to be in the tsunami in Thailand in 2004. Another is a woman in Louisiana who lived through Katrina: her family almost drowned and then they were homeless and had to survive. In La Conchita, Calif., in 2005 there was a deadly mudslide and I interviewed a young woman who was 18 years old at the time and survived an entire home collapsing on her. It was just a miracle that a neighbor heard her muffled cries beneath the earth and dug her out. She was calm talking about it, but her father broke down, because he had dropped her off the night before and blamed himself.