Continuous Coverage During the Elbert County Tornado

While the severe weather with the Elbert County storm was not that widespread and didn't threaten any major metro areas, it was still a life threatening weather situation for the residents living there.  Whenever there is a life threatening weather situation we will usually do continuous storm coverage until the threat has passed.  While this may annoy some viewers ( and I completely understand ), the benefits to the viewers in the storm's path are immeasureable.  Check out the email that we received from a viewer near Elbert:

My family and I would like to thank Brian Bledsoe and your news team for your indepth coverage of the tornado yesterday in Elbert county. We live on a ranch southwest of the town of Elbert just north of the junction of Palmer Divide road (county line) and Meridian. Yesterday afternoon the storm came upon us within moments. When I saw swirling clouds overhead, I got my husband and son from outside and we headed to the basement. Since we live off the electricity grid, we did not lose power and were able to watch the KKTV coverage of the storm. Unlike other stations, which may or may not have used streaming text at the bottom of the screen (which was anxiety-provoking but not helpful), Bledsoe kept us informed as to the movement and severity of the storm. The info we received from your station also helped a friend of my son's, a 16 year old girl who was home alone with no neighbors nearby and no electric power, who actually saw a funnel cloud. When she called in a panic, I had her get under the stairwell with her phone, dog, and a flashlight, and gave her frequent updates as to the status of the storm, per Bledsoe.

 

We wish to thank all of you at the station: Mr. Bledsoe and the weather team of course, but also yourself and the station manager or whoever made the decision to interrupt regular programming to offer much-needed information (as well as a knowledgeable and calm voice) to our rural community.

 

Sincerely,

Deborah Needell

Elbert

I am not sharing that email to gloat or be self indulgent.  I am sharing this email with you to show folks the benefits of continuous storm coverage during a life threatening weather situation.  While we do not see truly life threatening weather on a regular basis, when it does occur it warrants special coverage and that is what we provide.  In addition to continuous coverage, we also have procedure for coverage of weaker storms.  Those usually include cutting in during commercial breaks, as much as possible.  In the event that a warning has been issued and need immediate attention, we will cutin regardless of what is being shown.  It is a tough line to walk, but we always try to keep the best interest of the viewers in our mind.  We are always open to new ideas, but our severe weather procedures are in place for a reason and have been established through numerous years of covering severe weather. 

Chief Meteorologist Brian Bledsoe

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