Reporter's Hurricane Idalia Broadcast Interrupted by Power Outage: ‘If You Can’t See Me, I Apologize’

A Florida weather reporter went viral for his live Hurricane Idalia coverage

A weather reporter has gone viral after Hurricane Idalia caused a portion of Chiefland, Florida to lose power while he was broadcasting live.

On Tuesday evening, Forrest Saunders of WTXL-TV was conducting a live weather report ahead of Hurricane Idalia making landfall when his cameraman caught an incredible sight.

Saunders was speaking to his in-studio coworkers and audience members about dangerous storm surges and increasing wind speeds when Idalia, a category 4 hurricane at the time, caused the nighttime shoot to unexpectedly go dark.

Mid-sentence, the reporter exclaimed, “We just lost power now!” Saunders added, “You just saw the power go out. If you can’t see me, I apologize, but that just happened.”

The only source of light visible near him as he continued was a set of headlights from a car driving by. A couple of street lights and what appeared to be a gas station could be seen in the distance — a drastic change from the well-lit area he stood in just moments before.

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“In fact, I’m seeing some alerts going off in other parts of town here,” Saunders explained as he continued giving real-time updates to those watching the live broadcast. “We definitely lost power in this block of Chiefland and that again is because the wind is so intense,” he explained after pointing out that traffic lights remained working farther out.

Elizabeth Copeland, a meteorologist at the news station, later shared a clip of the footage. “One of the best timed live shots I've seen #HurricaneIdalia #Idalia #poweroutage This is our Capital reporter covering storm conditions in Chiefland,” she tweeted on Twitter, now known as X, early Wednesday morning.

Saunders later shared a tweet with video of lights flickering off and on at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' press conference about Idalia’s arrival on his own X page.

“And it’s gonna be very, very dangerous,” DeSantis, 44, said at the podium as some of the electricity went out. After briefly pausing, he added, “And there we go with our power here.” Seconds later, the lights came back on.

DeSantis also answered questions from reporters about a large tree that had fallen onto the Governor’s Mansion while his wife Casey DeSantis and their three children were home. He said his family was fine after receiving confirmation from Casey.

“[Casey] called me probably about 45 minutes ago and told me, says, I guess, There’s a really ancient oak tree split in half and part of it fell,” DeSantis explained.

He then clarified, “I don’t know that it fell on like, the residence, per se. I think it was a little bit off to the side, so that’s gonna be cleared.” The governor added that if the whole oak tree has to be cut down and cleared, then “that’s just gonna be more room for my kids to hit baseballs in.”

One weather-related death was reported in Florida after Hurricane Idalia made landfall in the state. The first reported fatality was a 59-year-old man in Gainesville who drove in "extremely rainy conditions'' on State Road 20. Around 6 a.m., the victim reportedly struck a tree after veering into a ditch near Southeast 60th Terrace, the Florida Highway Patrol told ABC affiliate WCJR-TV, The Orlando Sentinel and Fox affiliate WOFL-TV.

Related: Facing Hurricane Idalia, Hurricane Ian Survivors Braced for Repeat Nightmare: 'Forever Changed' (Exclusive)

A second was believed to have happened approximately 15 minutes later when a 40-year-old man hit a tree on St. Joe Road in Pasco County after driving "too fast for conditions," the FHP told WOFL-TV, The Sentinel, and NBC News.

However, EMS director Andy Fossa later told NBC News that the victim in the Pasco County crash would not be classified as a storm fatality.

“The weather was not that bad when the gentleman was driving,” Fossa told the outlet. “He was driving on a extremely curvy road, the roads were slick. Unfortunately, he hit a tree and lost his life. First responders were able to get to him immediately, so we’re not gonna classify it as a storm fatality, but just as a traffic fatality.”

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