Monday, May 23, 2011

Severe Weather Coverage Explained

9 PM Tuesday Update... thanks everyone for watching the Arkansas Weather Blog storm chase in Oklahoma.  The numbers are off the charts and we want to express our deepest gratitude for you coming here for your weather information.

We have another risk for severe weather Wednesday and our chasers will be on top of it here in Arkansas.  I'll have a new post at that time.

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For some, this is something you may already know.  However, I think it's worth explaining as we are experiencing one of the worst severe weather seasons in memory.

This post is due to a couple emails I received.  Here's one of them...

"Why doesn't your weather reporters ever keep us informed of SEVERE thunderstorms in Ind. Co.? Is now 8:10 P.M.and we have been having SEVERE STORMS ever since about 2P.M.Not a word about it on your channel."

There's no doubt many of you are on edge due to the recent deadly severe weather across the country including Arkansas.  At any given time, there can be thousands of thunderstorms going on around the planet.  However, only a few can be classified as severe.  ALL thunderstorms have rain, lightning, and thunder.  There are 2 elements to a thunderstorm which make it severe: 1'' size hail and/or winds 58 mph or higher.

Once a storm reaches this level, the National Weather Service will issue a severe thunderstorm warning.  TV stations do NOT issue warnings, we relay them to you in various ways.  They will crawl at the bottom of the screen on Channel 7 and if you sign up for weathercall 7, you will receive a call if you are in the direct path of the storm.  If you do not receive a call, you are not in the severe portion of the storm.

As far as LIVE television coverage is concerned, we will only interrupt programming IF a tornado warning is issued in the Channel 7 viewing area.  There are 2 reasons a tornado warning is issued.  First, a tornado or funnel has been observed by law enforcement or a trained spotter sees one.  Second, doppler radar indicates one is developing.  Again, we do not issue them at Channel 7, we relay them from the National Weather Service (federal government).  It would be highly irresponsible and cause confusion if more than one source issued tornado warnings.  The National Weather Service in North Little Rock is the one source issuing them for most of the Channel 7 viewing area.

As for the email above, there is no way Independence county was under a severe thunderstorm warning for 6 hours.  However, they were under two of them during one of our newscast this weekend.  I was able to pinpoint the threats during my regular weathercast.

I want everyone to be assured, we will be there with ALL warnings whether they are crawled at the bottom of the screen or we must interrupt programing!

Thanks for trusting us and making Channel 7 your #1 choice for severe weather coverage.  We all hope this severe weather season will end very, very soon!

3 comments:

eddie said...

Thanks Todd for the weather you do. It is great to see someone that really likes their job the way you do. As a fire and rescue person I depend on good information for a good source.

03 said...

Just want to say my apologies for the person from Ind Co who emailed that to you. They are obviously exaggerating and it is embarrassing to be from the same county as they. You have the best weather coverage of all stations in the LR area - on-air, Twitter, Facebook, and this blog - and we appreciate it. Don't let their ignorant comment get you down!

[Hopefully if they read this they will realize how incredibly wrong they were!]

Anonymous said...

Todd, I am from Vilonia and I must say you did an excellent job of warning us on April 25th. I do believe that your warnings are the reason so many of us here were able to get to safety. I had katv weather on, then, after electricity went out, via twitter
during the storm. Was able to stay informed thru that outlet. I love Channel 7 and after what we went through I will only watch/listen to you guys. You helped save lives by keeping your eyes on the storm. God Bless you and Ned for the very long hours you keep! You are definitely keeping your promise to always be there for viewers.