A very rare and dangerous thing happened in my hometown late last night. We were actually under a tornado threat. A few miles south of us, houses were being sheered apart by the apparent twisters. I received a warning through my Weather Channel Sidebar Gadget. I grabbed a flashlight, battery-powered radio, and headed upstairs to stay close to the kids. The rain was torrential, but the wind was oddly still. We watched out the windows intently for any changes in look, sound or sense of the storm. We would, if needed, scoop the children up & whisk them to the basement.
The local all-news radio station did a great job of keeping the information constant & current. Our satellite TV signal was knocked offline earlier, so the radio was my source of information. While still under the official tornado alert, I switched on our bedroom TV to see if the signal had resumed. It had, and I was anxious to see a Doppler radar image of the storm mass. It would visually show if the storm had passed our home, and if there were more cells heading in our direction.
To my total horror, NBC, CBS & FOX were airing normal late-night programming… without a storm warning, scroller or information overlay of any sort. Only ABC, who was airing ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live‘ added up-to-date storm information overlayed around the comedy show. Conan was smiling and laughing it up, and the local NBC station didn’t inform the local audience that they were possibly in grave danger. I switched from channel to channel for about 20 minutes – Only ABC acknowledged that there was a dangerous weather system approaching the viewing area. Eventually, as the National Weather Service was downgrading the storm warning, the other channels had sporadic coverage, but the local stations, representing the major networks let me & the viewing public down, and in a potentially dangerous way.
Thank you WJLA TV 7 in Washington, DC. You served your viewing audience appropriately & responsibly last night. I will not watch the other channels for weather or news again. I will register my official complaints as well.