KABB executive producer hunkers down for direct hit from Hurricane Irma

From left to right: KABB Chief Photographer Lalo Garcia, KEYE Reporter Jordan Bontke, KEYE Photographer German Cortez, and KABB Executive Producer Bryan Eckert in Corpus Christi covering Hurricane Harvey. 

KABB Executive Producer of Investigations and Special Projects Bryan Eckert is currently preparing to be directly hit by Hurricane Irma.

But Eckert isn't chasing the storm -- this is time the storm has followed him. About a week ago, he and a crew went to Corpus Christi and Rockport and intentionally chased Hurricane Harvey. This week, his well-deserved vacation time on the island of Tortola has been interrupted by the most power hurricane the Atlantic has seen in more than a decade.

Irma has turned into a dangerous Category 5 storm and is roaring toward islands in the northeast Caribbean today on a path that could eventually take it to the United States.

Since about 1998, Eckert has covered numerous hurricanes in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The hurricane he remembers the most is Hurricane Ike in 2008. He was working for KWTV in Oklahoma City at the time and happened to be visiting family in San Antonio when Ike was approaching. He later met a crew in Kemah to do live shots on the first night Ike hit and witnessed more destruction left than any other storm he had covered at that point.

"One apartment complex even had a boat sticking out of one of the rooms," he said.

About a week ago, Eckert went to Corpus Christi and Rockport with a crew to cover Hurricane Harvey.

"I called it a Tale of Two Cities. When we were held up in Corpus we surveyed the damage, but the power never went out, our water source was okay. There were a few broken branches....It seemed more like straight lined winds rather than a Cat 4 hurricane. But then you go 40 miles up the road to Rockport and it was completely different. There was complete destruction. Apartment complexes were destroyed, we went to the marina and boats were flattened. There was flooding. It was destroyed," he said.

This isn't the vacation he was hoping for, but he says he's not too worried. He says his hotel is the certified hurricane shelter for Tortola and the British Virgin Islands. There is no wood base. It is completely made out of concrete. He and his wife have their own room with a refrigerator. They have food, water and flashlights even though the hotel has backup generators. He's been in worse situations when covering a storm so he says he's very thankful for the resources he has on the island.

Please keep Bryan and his wife in your thoughts and prayers as they prepare to be hit by Hurricane Irma.

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