Editorial: Severe weather coverage

The following is an editorial from FOX6 WBRC-TV General Manager Lou Kirchen, first aired on Tuesday, April 27, 2010:

I can already hear the response to this editorial.  I want to go ahead and get it out of the way.   Your may call it self-serving...say we do it for ratings.  Yes, we're a business, but we take very seriously what we believe to be a tremendous obligation to the community during times of severe weather.

JP Dice, our Chief meteorologist, is a weather scientist.  I have worked in severe weather markets in Nebraska, tornado alley, and in South Carolina, ground zero for hurricanes…was there during several of those, including the big one…Hurricane Hugo.  I've worked with some extremely talented meteorologists over the years, but never with a better Chief Met than JP or with a better weather team.  When JP Dice speaks, I listen.

Last week, when JP looked at all of the weather data available to him he knew that this storm system was going to be different…stronger, more deadly.  We began coverage when the storms were still in Mississippi, so that folks would understand the severity of the situation…would take precautions.  In fact, Saturday's storms impacted the lives of families in four counties in our viewing area.

JP and his team detected and began covering the tornado in Walker Co. 6 minutes before the National Weather Service warning. Six minutes can make a world of difference when you're trying to get out of the way of a tornado.

This past weekend, in Mississippi, the storm system killed ten people.  In Alabama, two people lost their lives.   We had more time to prepare.  Bottom line:  Our goal in times of severe weather is to give you enough information to protect you and your family.  What do you think?

If you would like to respond to this editorial, email editorials@gowbrc.com, write

P.O. B
ox 6
Birmingham, Alabama 35201

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