Olivet alumna Britni McDonald reports during Hurricane Irma

For 90 hours over 10 straight days, this communications alumna reported for WINK News in Florida.

October 24, 2017 Uncategorized


Hurricane Irma made its way toward southwest Florida as a Category 5 storm, making landfall on September 10, 2017, as a Category 3. It eventually weakened to a tropical depression and moved out of Florida on September 11.


For two straight days and nights, Britni McDonald stayed at the station, working around the clock.


Regardless of the howling wind or the pelting rain, Britni kept residents informed about all things related to the epic Hurricane Irma. Before, during and after the storm.

Following are some excerpts from Britni’s Facebook and Instagram posts during that time, documenting some of the rewards and challenges of reporting during a natural disaster.

September 6

12:51 p.m.: I’m back from my trip home just in time for Hurricane Irma. Just stocking up now. How come no one likes pumpernickel bread?! No judgments during storm prep.

1:31 p.m.: Found water! At the Publix off Six Mile Cypress. Store just got a shipment in 30 minutes ago, but it will go fast!

September 7

4:04 p.m.: Mandatory evacuations start tomorrow, Friday, at 9 a.m.! Shelters will be opened.

September 8

11:02 a.m.: Hurricane Irma comes on the heels of some major flooding in Collier County just last week.

11:13 a.m.: LATEST HURRICANE CONE UPDATE has Irma tracking further west again.

11:31 a.m.: Lee County Emergency Operations Center doing its job. All hands on deck there and at WINK News as Hurricane Irma approaches.

2:10 p.m. Mandatory evacuations in Lee County, and shelters are open. Media briefing from Florida Governor Scott outside the situation room (aka my home for the weekend) ahead of Hurricane Irma.

I did my first Hurricane Irma live shot from the Lee County Emergency Operations Center with what Governor Scott had to say. A little rough, but I’m totally on my own today. We are told to get in front of a camera at a moment’s notice. We are in full-blown, wall-to-wall coverage. I will continue sharing my updates!

September 9

Change of plans! I am now in studio today, 12 a.m. to 12 p.m., with your latest on Hurricane Irma. I tried getting some sleep in a sales office upstairs but not too much luck. Bear with us as we’re doing our best to keep you informed on this massive weather event with very little sleep.

September 10


Change of plans: I’m now hunkering down at the station and in studio anchoring overnight, 12 a.m. to 12 p.m. I snagged a sales office for what little sleep I can get around days-long, wall-to-wall Hurricane Irma coverage on WINK News.

4:32 a.m.: Anchoring in studio from now until noon as Hurricane Irma reaches southwest Florida. I’ve been at the Lee County Emergency Operations Center over the past two days. This is where the most important decisions for our county and for our safety are made during this massive weather event that’s expected to bring possible tornado-like winds and flooding.

September 11

5:51 a.m.: I’m at the anchor desk until 10 this morning with live updates on Hurricane Irma and damage around our area. Anchoring the morning show over the past couple of days as we cover Hurricane Irma has been freeform style. We’ve been able to speak to the viewers in a vulnerable and purely honest way since we are all in the same boat.

There are hundreds of thousands of power outages across our viewing area. It could take days for some to be restored. LCEC says they’re working to get power back on, but it’s hard to say when that will be.

I am so proud of our news/weather team for being so clear, calm and concise about the dangers of Hurricane Irma and of our community for taking our warnings seriously! I think these things helped keep us from reporting on any injuries/fatalities after the storm.

I’ve never been interested in running, never mind marathons. But this news marathon has been one of the best and most unique experiences of my life. Hurricane Irma came right through Fort Myers, and I was honored to be anchoring at WINK News as it was all happening. This is an historic moment for the state, and we all made it out alive!

Ending my 10-day Hurricane Irma coverage at the WINK News desk.


To learn more about Olivet’s areas of study in communications, contact the Office of Admissions at admissions@olivet.edu or 800-648-1463.

Posted on 10/24/2017

Student on main campus wearing pink sweater and holding water bottle.

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