Part 1: KPLC Meteorologist Ben Terry looks back on Hurricane Laura experience a year later

Posted at 8:19 AM, Aug 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-27 10:44:59-04

In the last year the resiliency of southwest Louisiana has, for good reason, been heralded with stories of communities banding together in the face of Mother Nature's worst.

Perhaps the embodiment of that resiliency though is the meteorologist who helped get them through it, KPLC Meteorologist Ben Terry.

Gulf Coast meteorologists had seen the story of Laura before, the story of a storm rapidly intensifying all the way to landfall and bringing along with it catastrophic damage.

Instead of watching the story unfold though, Ben would find himself the central character as one of Lake Charles's on air meteorologists responsible for getting as much life-saving information out to the public as possible.

Unfolding like a nightmare the team of KPLC was forced to leave the station, evacuating their operation to Baton Rouge in order to continue broadcasting through the storm.

A decision that Ben said was not made lightly, "As a meteorologist you don't want to abandon the ship because you feel like the captain leaving at the most critical hour. You feel like you're abandoning your town and your audience. But it was a decision that had to be made because we were not going to be safe there."

That decision to leave at the last moment would turn out to be divine intervention, as the images emerged the next morning of the storm's devastation a particularly chilling one came through the news room.

The picture was of the KPLC studio, the broadcasting tower had collapsed and the roof caved in at the very spot where they would have been doing their broadcast.

A recent homeowner Ben inquired about his house trying to get a hold of neighbors who had an idea if his house was still standing.

The new's wasn't good.

Ben's house would be deemed a total loss, suffering catastrophic damage while Ben was broadcasting news of the storm.

It would take a few days for him to get back to Lake Charles and a whole month before KPLC could continue it's operations there after the collapse in the studio.

The hurricane season refused to relent, delivering another hurricane in early October, and for Ben that was only the beginning of the bad news.

"So here we are at the end of hurricane season and the holidays are here and I'm thinking I can relax and spend time with family. And a week before Thanksgiving I went in for a routine screening and I find out I have cancer."

Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.

To reach the newsroom or report a typo/correction, click HERE.

Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox. Select from these options: Breaking News, Evening News Headlines, Latest COVID-19 Headlines, Morning News Headlines, Special Offers

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Instagram

Subscribe to our Youtube channel