Even I Got Out the Storm Survival Kit When Memphis Got Slammed by Storms

My wife and I had just picked up my old Nissan Pathfinder from the mechanic’s shop in Bartlett and we were driving back home about 4:45 Tuesday when the first wall of weather hit.  I knew it was bad when wind-driven rain reduced visibility so fast.  I could hear the tornado sirens wailing as we raced to get back to our house in Midtown.  I had been listening to the radio which indicated that a tornado had been spotted in the Bartlett area around 4:45 and once we got in the house the TV went on and it stayed on as we monitored the local weather.  Normally I flip through the stations to see who has what but this time after some initial channel surfing, I kept it on one channel.  I even started making sure all of our emergency supplies were together and ready in case they had to be put to use.  I know I have chided some of our local weather people for having a weathergasm when a thunderstorm rolled through the Memphis area.  I’ve also written that when a tornado WARNING occurs, the weather folks SHOULD hit the air.  The situation that occurred Tuesday afternoon through the night is what TV weather is all about.  Almost non-stop Tornado Warnings meant I saw more of the TV weather people in one night than I have all year.  As I stated early on in this post, I didn’t surf as much as I normally do but I did hit all of the channels at least once.  As usual, some did a better job than others in providing information but the main point of this post is this: I wanted to say “thank-you” to the area weather teams.  One way or another you ALL  ended up providing valuable information to your viewers and I for one want to say “good job”.  Now, just don’t let that go to you head and don’t blow the next thunderstorm out of proportion when it (and it will) rolls through the MidSouth.  I now return you to my normal “rants and raves”.

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11 Comments on “Even I Got Out the Storm Survival Kit When Memphis Got Slammed by Storms”

  1. Chris Says:

    My family and I watched from wreg.com as we live in Sao Paulo. I was appreciative for channel 3 streaming their weather coverage as we have family in Cordova and southeast Shelby county. We were able to watch the torndado from WREG’s Hyatt Hotel cam. I think Fox 13 is onto something with the “no hype” but even as I briefly watched their coverage on the net, they made no apologies for their “wall-to-wall” weather coverage. Joey Sulipek seemed to get annoyed by the emails from folks wanting to watch American Idol. I think he really was close to telling those viewers where to stick their Idol. Back at wreg.com and also wmctv.com I watched through the night as reports came in from Union where I have a niece and am very thankful for the Memphis stations going live via the internet. The world sure is a small place now.

  2. Richard.... Says:

    I myself surfed from one local channel to the next but wound up on one most of the night. I did switch when one started bragging about how they knew this was going to happen and then dang the station I switched to started bragging also.

    But they all did a good job and I commend them for it!

  3. Bar-B-Que Says:

    C’Mon Joe. Spill the beans. What station were you watchin’?

  4. joelarkins Says:

    I wasn’t going to say but you asked. After the initial surfing, the TV set in the kitchen where I was double checking all the flashlights, radios, and other emergency items was on WMC. And there was a reason for that. With the storms rolling through close to sunset, WMC switched periodically to the “High 5” cam at their facility on Union which is just a stone’s throw from where I live. I figured if a funnel cloud or tornado was spotted bearing down on Midtown, they would show it and I would then be diving for cover shortly thereafter.
    A couple of observations after watching WMC. Toward late evening when they lost power and went to back-up generator, they scrambled to get lights working around the Weather desk. Whoever was working camera on the Weather Desk Command Center when John Bryant was talking should have alerted Dave Brown that his reflection from off camera could be seen on the monitor over Bryant’s right shoulder. All Dave would have had to do was start scratching himself and then it would have been a You-tube moment. And speaking of which, I didn’t hear this but heard mention of it on Drake and Zeke this morning. Did Tim Van Horn drop the “F” bomb on the air during a phoner or some other kind of interview? They mentioned in on D& Z around 7:45 this morning. Please, someone confirm or deny this for me. Thanks in advance.

  5. joelarkins Says:

    Now I’ve READ where it was Austen Onek who may have dropped the “F” bomb. Is the whole thing just an urban myth and I have managed to spread it? If so, I am truly sorry.

  6. JAC Says:

    We usually tune in WMC here in Hardin County as WREG stops at Mcnairy with their reporting. Very seldom do you hear Pickwick or Savannah on WREG. I was very concerned about Memphis though and Im glad none of the twisters ventured toward the heavy residential areas of Memphis.

    You might think Jackson would be better for our weather coverage but WBBJ sucks when it comes to weather outside of the Jackson area.

  7. Doug J. Says:

    Remember when only a single weather person (whoever was on duty) would take to the air during weather emergencies? Seems the trend now is to pack every weather person on staff into the computer center or in front of the chromakey to toss back-and-forth during these situations.

  8. Chris Says:

    What about waaaaaaay back in the day when stations had the black and white loop as radar.? I think it was channel 5 that had a submarine-style sound effect to go with it. It only showed cloud-like images. And I’m talking 30+ years ago when I was a kid but when there was severe weather the only thing I remember 3, 5, or 13 doing was putting up a “severe weather alert” slide of some sort with a recording from the National Weather Service.

    By the way, and I mean no offense whatsoever but what exactly do station meteorologists do once they have their maps and forecasts ready for the day? I do remember when I interned at WMC, 20+ years ago, Dave Brown always updating things, checking cities out, on the phone about something. But when there are 2+ people doing weather nowadays, is that just kind of a “show of force”. Again, I mean no disrespect and am thankful stations have meteorologists (assuming they have their degree) to keep viewers safe.

    Here in Sao Paulo, the 2nd largest city in the world, we have weather reporters. I don’t think they really have a clue as to what is going on except what is told to them by the Braziilian meteorologists, who in turn I believe get their info from the NWS! We get amazingly heavy thunderstorms but they have never, in 14 years of life here, broken into programming. It’s more like, “Hey it’s a thunderstorm. If you don’t have sense enough to run for cover, deal with it.” Here, break into a telenovela, viewers will break into your face!

  9. joelarkins Says:

    An interesting perspective for sure. In fact, I’m planning to use this as a post right now.
    Thanks for sharing.

  10. Sorry. Wasn’t me (if anyone) who dropped anything on the air. I have never used any expletive on the air, ever. (I’ll leave that to Drake and Zeke.) Come to that, I have never sneezed on the air either, so I hope to keep both streaks going well into my career future.

    (IMHO, I consider cursing/expletives to be pedestrian and beneath me, and definitely not something that belongs at ANY time on the airwaves. I realize that there is such a thing as human nature and a natural response to any mistake/crisis situation that arises while the show is in motion. I just choose to not let loose with anything, even if the frustration level is there. In the immortal words of Fr. Mulcahy from MASH: “I just translate things like that into Latin… makes them sound noble!”)

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, some irate farmer is pounding on the station’s back door wanting to bop me on the nose because my forecast interrupted his favorite tire commercial. 😉

  11. Zeke Says:

    I was actually impressed with BBJ last Tuesday – picked things up in Fayette county and followed the system live to Wayne County. The young meteorologist for BBJ actually called the Union hit and Savannah hits before they happened. WREG had good coverage as well….just my view from Lexington, TN.

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