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Mouseboy331,844 posts since 10 Feb 2014
Interesting Article about the role of TV meterologists during sever weather

Stations Expand Scope Of Tornado Warnings
By Phil Kurz
TVNewsCheck, May 1, 2014 11:20 AM EDT

In covering tornados over the past week, broadcasters supplemented their more traditional on-air, real-time forecasting and weather radar images with warnings on social media sites, station websites and even robotic telephone calls. Doug Heady, chief meteorologist at KOAM Pittsburg, Kan., says: “I really don’t consider us nowadays to be TV meteorologists; we are kind of multimedia meteorologists.”


TV stations in the path of this week’s deadly tornados in the plains and the South used a variety of media — not just their broadcast signal — to warn the public of the impending danger.

Social media like Facebook and Twitter, station websites and even robotic telephone calls to registered viewers supplemented the traditional on-air, real-time forecasting and reporting.

Doug Heady, chief meteorologist at KOAM, which serves Pittsburg, Kan., and Joplin, Mo., says social media and the Web are transforming his role and that of his peers.

“I really don’t consider us nowadays to be TV meteorologists; we are kind of multimedia meteorologists,” he says.

The severe weather system developed in rural central Nebraska on Sunday afternoon. At about 5:30 p.m., a tornado struck Quapaw, Okla., a small town in the northeast corner of the state. The system moved north into Kansas where one tornado struck Baxter Springs and another touched down northwest of Joplin.

The same system then spawned a massive tornado that struck central Arkansas, including the towns of Vilonia and Mayflower, north of Little Rock. By Monday morning, the system had moved into northern Louisiana, Alabama and North Carolina. Preliminary estimates say the system was responsible for nearly 80 tornados in all.

Ned Perme, chief meteorologist at KATV Little Rock, Ark., agrees that the role of television meteorologists is evolving as new media alternatives supplement station’s on-air storm coverage. “It’s a different world than it was years ago,” he says. “There are too many distractions — cable TV, satellite TV. People are not paying attention [to stations' coverage] as they did before.”

KATV offers a weather app and Weather Call 7, a robocall service that automatically phones more than 45,000 people in the area who have subscribed when they are in the direct path of a storm, he says.

Perme also took a more rudimentary approach. He asked viewers to call or text friends and family in Vilonia and Mayflower as the tornado approached, he says. His 29-year-old daughter, who was watching Perme on TV, took his advice to text a friend in Vilonia, who was not watching television and was unaware of the imminent danger, says Perme. That friend took shelter with her family, and when she emerged once the tornado had passed her grandparent’s home in Vilonia was gone.

KOAM offers an iOS and Android app that is linked into its WSI radar. “It’s pretty live,” says Heady, referring to the slight delay between the WSI radar scan and when it’s actually delivered to users of the app. “I’ve looked at it and compared it (to real-time radar sweeps). It maybe lags a minute and a half,” he says.

For closer to real-time radar data to smartphones, tablets and computers, Heady relies on social media. “I am huge on social media. I have 30,000 people on my Facebook site."

“We tag teamed our on-air coverage of the storm,” Heady says. “I had my weekend guy, when he was not talking on air, push every single warning that was coming out and push out radar images to both our Facebook and Twitter sites."

Those social media warnings and radar posts are especially important to people who have lost power and can’t tune in with their televisions, he adds.

Keith Monahan, chief meteorologist at KARK Little Rock, says Sunday’s tornado, which cut a path between Mayflower and Vilonia, illustrates how important simulcasting the station’s weather coverage online can be to viewers caught without electricity.

“The power did go out very early for folks who were watching our coverage [in the Mayflower-Vilonia storm path],” he says. “We have one employee up in Vilonia who said the power went out about 12 minutes before the weather hit because it took out a distribution line in the southern part of the country. But they were able to watch the streaming coverage because cell phone towers were still working at that point.”

Monahan points out that the station’s streaming coverage can also be important for people on the road. Some travelers on I-40 in Arkansas drove directly into the tornado, which to them looked like a wall of rain, says Monahan. “If drivers are not familiar with the area ... they don’t know what county they are in,” he says.

Mike Smith, senior vice president at AccuWeather, says the public was better informed about the recent tornados than the killer tornado that struck Joplin three years ago. Smith chronicled the errors made by the National Weather Service during that emergency in his book, When the Sirens Were Silent.

This time around, the National Weather Service “did a very find job” of updating warnings of Sunday’s tornados, says Smith. “At about 2:45 p.m., the National Weather Service updated its ‘Severe Weather Outlook’ from a moderate risk to a high risk warning for Arkansas. And then a few minutes later they put out a rare ‘Particularly Dangerous Situation’ tornado watch,” he says.
"Broadcasters got the right information instead of misleading information like in Joplin,” he says.

While not identical, Sunday’s tornado in Arkansas and the 2011 Joplin tornado were super tornados in terms of wind speed and size, he says. While the 2011 tornado killed 161 people, this week's killed only 13, he says.
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Mouseboy331,844 posts since 10 Feb 2014
News presenter lays into viewers complaints about tornado coverage. WOW!
They actually high five at the end of the rant. I get her complaint and I actually agree with everything she says. But I think it could have been handled better.
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Mouseboy331,844 posts since 10 Feb 2014
They could use it as a slogan: "KSFY Television - Saving People's Lives"

Ha! Thats funny. But also not far off from the branding many stations use. You often get the "On Your Side" branding from many small market stations.
But she is correct in that the station is there provide a public service in times of emergency, but people will always complain. Many stations will either dump the network primetime onto their digital subchannels or rebroadcast in the middle of the night so people can record and watch the next day. (Some stations do that with the soaps that air midday if they are interrupted by hours of storm coverage) In KSFY's case they could have easily dumped ABC primetime on to, 13.3, 13.4. or 13.5 as they already broadcast on 13.1 and the operate the CW affiliate on 13.2. But as she said, in an inelegant manner, ABC.com allows for viewing your fav shows.
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bilky asko4,566 posts since 9 Sep 2006
Tyne Tees Look North (North East)
News presenter lays into viewers complaints about tornado coverage. WOW!
They actually high five at the end of the rant. I get her complaint and I actually agree with everything she says. But I think it could have been handled better.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gi76bvkf2sY


Wait, doesn't the US have the Emergency Alert System for just this sort of thing (impending weather emergencies)? I read that weather radios that relay EAS info are considered to be as much of an essential for houses as smoke alarms. Surely rolling coverage is for fleshing it out, and not "saving people's lives".
London Lite7,268 posts since 4 Jan 2003
London London
News presenter lays into viewers complaints about tornado coverage. WOW!
They actually high five at the end of the rant. I get her complaint and I actually agree with everything she says. But I think it could have been handled better.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gi76bvkf2sY


Wait, doesn't the US have the Emergency Alert System for just this sort of thing (impending weather emergencies)? I read that weather radios that relay EAS info are considered to be as much of an essential for houses as smoke alarms. Surely rolling coverage is for fleshing it out, and not "saving people's lives".


I don't know how it works on TV, on radio it can cut into any radio station's output which will broadcast a loop of information.
Mouseboy331,844 posts since 10 Feb 2014
News presenter lays into viewers complaints about tornado coverage. WOW!
They actually high five at the end of the rant. I get her complaint and I actually agree with everything she says. But I think it could have been handled better.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gi76bvkf2sY


Wait, doesn't the US have the Emergency Alert System for just this sort of thing (impending weather emergencies)? I read that weather radios that relay EAS info are considered to be as much of an essential for houses as smoke alarms. Surely rolling coverage is for fleshing it out, and not "saving people's lives".


Well its just what it says. Its an ALERT. The information provided by the NOAA Radio and EAS are only the ALERT with an automated message. Often the information is general. Like the county or city. Its not as detailed like what you will get on television broadcast. Sometimes after the alert you are instructed to tune to local media for detailed information. Tornadoes are not stationary, they move and and the speed changes and they change direction, multiple tornadoes can drop out of one storm impacting several areas at one time. I watched coverage where they are 5 or 6 tornado warnings in one area at a time. If you are not watching the tv, you or your family could be killed if you assume its only one tornado or its in another part of the WARNED AREA. The EAS does not provide tornado tracking information, neither does the NOAA Radio.

TV, NOAA RADIO, CIVIL DEFENSE SIRENS, EAS PHONE ALERTS all work together to ALERT the public. Most people I know have a NOAA RAdio. I have one as well. The local National Weather Service activates the alert. It can be a Tornado, Severe Thunderstorm, Flash Flood, High Wind, Blizzard. Once NWS activates the warning, it immediately goes out over the NOAA Radio, creating a EAS. Almost the same time the EAS will take over the tv screen of every channel (My cable system it appears as a red bar at the bottom of the screen.) and squelches the alert tone. This is followed by instructions. Doesnt matter if you have cable, over-the-air, satellite. This happens seamlessly. YOu might also get the same tone on your phone even if its on silent or vibrate. Most people will immediately turn to a tv channel for more information to see if the tornado is near you or coming and what you should do. It would be foolish to sit around guessing. Maybe you have to abandon your house depending on many factors not addressed in the EAS automated message. Following that or simultaneously the Tornado Siren will go off in your local area.

Here is a visual example of the NOAA Radio and then the alert on TV working. Imagine lying in bed and your NOAA Radio goes off.


Please take 8 mins to watch this coverage of a Tornado Outbreak. I watched this coverage, because I know people that live in that part of the country. It was unprecedented day. Meteorologist James Spann was not "fleshing out" they were giving specific streets and locations they know to warn people. As this tornado was on they ground there were others that had already dropped down and were still dropping all across there viewing area after this one when thru. Many people were still killed and it caused millions in damage. This city is about the same population as Nottingham, England for perspective.
Last edited by Mouseboy33 on 14 May 2014 4:33am
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Mouseboy331,844 posts since 10 Feb 2014
Incredible Picture broadcast live on CNN and The Weather Channel. Two tornadoes on the ground. Live pics show entire town destroyed in seconds.
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The Weather Channel and CNN have utilized streaming footage from a network of hundreds of storm chasers.
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This live footage is used to supplement their radar graphics.
The chaser footage also allow them to show the aftermath literally minutes after the tornado passes, as many chaser are following the storms. This footage was devastating to watch as millions watch the town removed from existence live on tv.
The Weather Channel use of radar and their analysts like Dr Greg Postel, was able to see the double tornadoes before they hit the town of Pilger NE.
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Many of the local tv stations also subscribe to the Chaser stream network as well.
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Last edited by Mouseboy33 on 17 June 2014 3:29am
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Mouseboy331,844 posts since 10 Feb 2014
Accuweather Channel - Graphics leaked. These seem to be design treatments that may appear on the soon to be launched channel. But this help see which direction AccuWeather Channel seems to be going.
The graphic were created by RENDERON graphics shop.

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