Heroes of the Week: Weather Forecasters Keeping Us Safe
Lee Southwick and Josh Johnson of WSFA-TV in Montgomery, AL
Since the beginning of March, we have faced some brutal weather in the United States, between the deadly rainstorms and flooding in California, the tornadoes in Alabama, and the bombogenesis blizzard that walloped the mountain west and midwest yesterday. Tens of millions of people have literally been in harm’s way. That was particularly true in Alabama when, according to The Post, the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center put local TV meteorologists on 24 hours notice of the strong tornadoes that were likely to strike Lee County, Alabama in the middle of the day on Sunday, March 3rd. And then the local forecasters took to the local airwaves and did the difficult job of warning people of the killer tornadoes, road by road and neighborhood by neighborhood, as they were happening. The same was true for the Weather Service’s forecast of the whiteout conditions, high winds, and flooding that forecasters accurately predicted in Colorado and Kansas. There is no doubt that these meteorologists in the government and the private sector working together saved lives. The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang credited local TV meteorologists Josh Johnson, Eric Snitil, Amanda Curran and Lee Southwick of the local NBC Montgomery, Alabama affiliate for their timely and sober coverage that made a lasting impression on “veteran broadcast meteorologists with its clarity, thoroughness and calm-yet-serious tone.” These meteorologists gave local residents 30-40 minutes lead time and pinpoint locations of where two highly destructive tornadoes were heading. So this week we salute the storm forecasters who sounded the alarm and warned the public, thereby keeping millions of people across the nation out of harm’s way.