MARCH 2, 2012 TORNADO OUTBREAK
On the evening of March 2nd 2012 something happened in our little corner of the world that shook me and many others. The whirlwinds that hit that night dispelled the notion that the hills and mountains protect us from the really big tornadoes.
Aided by a tremendous contortion in the winds a few miles overhead, violent thunderstorms blew up suddenly in the late afternoon through Central and Western Kentucky. As these storms raced eastward at 50 miles per hour, they spun up a handful of twisters. Remarkably these were not the small, short lived tornadoes that are occasional nuisance visitors to our region. Instead these were the maxi tornadoes indigenous to the famed Midwest Tornado Alley.
Here’s what I wrote about that weekend after my trips to “tornado-ravaged” West Liberty and Left Fork of Little Blaine Kentucky.
Our coverage of the tornadoes started on First at Five, a half hour before the first warning. By the time the alert had ended and the last tornado siren had blared, 8 people locally and 25 across a 3 state region had perished.
I have included the story I did for 5:30 Edition on Friday.
In calling this the "tornado outbreak of a generation" I realized the single defining moment of my weather career had occured.
Our team of meteorologists had come together for a compelling 5 solid hours of coverage. Josh Fitzpatrick marshalled our social media coverage (via Facebook, Twitter and E-mail). Brandon's expertise gained in the Springfield Mass twister the year before no doubt saved lives. For my part, I was able to add the local perspective that comes from having witnessed and studied local weather patterns here in Appalachia for a quarter of a century.
Then there was the work of our photo-journalists, anchors,reporters and producers who gelled together to help produce the most compelling and relevant TV of my career.
Now a year later I reflect back with pride on our work and hope I/we never have to go through another night of "Tornado Terror" again.