Jim Cantore is one consolation New Yorkers have as they hunker down for Hurricane Sandy and keep the Weather Channel on 24/7. Cantore took a few minutes between segments from Battery Park City this afternoon to phone EW.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How are you doing?
JIM CANTORE: I’m doing good, all things considered. I’m just kinda waitin’ for the fourth quarter here, which oughta be sometime this evening.
I’m guessing you get first dibs on location. Why did you want New York City?
You think about the number of people that could be impacted by a record-setting storm surge, that pretty much was a no-brainer in terms of where I’m gonna go. I mean, yes, it’s not gonna be the usual Cantore beating that I would take on the beaches, but none the less, there’s just too many people potentially in harm’s way here in a concentrated area. It’s the heartbeat of the world. Who doesn’t want to cover a hurricane or a big storm like this in New York?
Are you doing anything differently for this storm?
I have a little different outerwear. I have a drysuit instead of a wetsuit. It’s winter time, kind of, and a wetsuit would be fine for a couple of hours, but I need to stay dry all the way down to the bone just because of how long I’m gonna be outside.
And how long will you be out there at a time?
That’s a good question. It looks like we’re gonna go late into the night and probably the early morning hours. So, it’s gonna be a 24-hour shift here.
How many hours of sleep have you had since you hit New York?
It’s not been too bad. I average about six a night. We have so many crews out that you can kind of share the wealth a little bit, which is nice. If you get burned out before a storm like this [Laughs] you’re in big trouble.
What are you doing between on-air segments?
I’m trying to gather as much information as I can. First of all, let’s see, my inbox has filled with 143 emails since 9 o’clock this morning. It’s just out of control. I can’t keep up with all the data. At this point, it’s my job to just tell everybody what’s going on and hopefully get a tidbit or a snippet here or there to share with everybody. You almost need two or three producers out here. One to control all the live shots: We do stuff for Weather Channel, NBC, the nightly news, Today show. We’ve been doing stuff for Inside Edition and Access Hollywood. Any affiliates that come up — Philly, Dallas, Seattle. It’s been a crazy morning here. And then I need another person to coordinate all the information to get me data, because I’m basically standing in front of the camera constantly talking and I have no time to update myself on what’s going on. But I am taking the time to talk to you.
And we appreciate that. What’s the first thing you’re gonna do when you can finally sign off from Hurricane Sandy?
I’ll go have a glass of red wine. [Laughs] It depends what happens. If it’s that bad, sometimes you gotta detox from stuff like this. But if it’s not, and everybody makes it out okay, we’ll go on to the next one. But I just think too many people are gonna be impacted here for many, many days. It’s just almost unavoidable.
You mentioned red wine. Lighthearted question: Would you ever consider endorsing some kind of alcohol, since that’s a big part of how some people entertain themselves waiting for a storm?
You know what, who doesn’t take a break after a long day of work? Whether that’s red wine or passing out on my couch, I have no idea. I’m just throwing that out there. But no, I would never be able to endorse liquor being on the air on a professional network. That’s not gonna happen.
One more question: What movie would you recommend we watch when we need a brief break from the drama on The Weather Channel?
Oh gosh…Wedding Crashers is one of my favorites. [Laughs] Throw that one in there.