Interrupting Golf For Tornadoes

By: Stephanie Shoop -- News Director
By: Stephanie Shoop -- News Director

Eight people were injured in Sunday's tornadoes and more than 70 structures were damaged or destroyed.

Sunday's severe storms caused eight injuries in Eastern Carolina. Two of the victims were rushed to the hospital with critical injuries.

At least three tornado touchdowns have been confirmed.

More than two dozen structures were damaged or destroyed in Onslow County. Another 50 structures were damaged or destroyed in Bertie County.

Sunday's storms came from the same system that killed 22 people in the Midwest and Deep South. There was the potential it could be as severe here in Eastern Carolina as it was in the Midwest and Deep South.

We were well aware that the Tournament Players Championship was airing Sunday and some viewers had been following it all weekend. We worked hard to get the word out about the storms without disrupting programming as much as possible.

Here's an example of an e-mail WITN received. As you can see, it was sent at 6:45 p.m. Sunday.

"Sent: Sunday, May 11, 2008 6:45 PM
To: witn@witntv.com
Subject:

Enough is ENOUGH!!! Put the golf tourney back on...until a tornado ACTUALLY happens...we get it! Good lord"

Well, a tornado was actually happening. It touched down at roughly 6:57 p.m.  Our job is to give people warning before a tornado touches down, so they can protect themselves. Certainly, we follow a tornado's path when it is on the ground to give that information. But the warning in advance of the storm is just as critical, to give you time to prepare.

We go live on the air when there is urgent, timely information viewers need to know immediately.  The meteorologists can give you far more potentially life-saving information than the crawl on the bottom of the screen, to alert you of the danger. The crawl is then used as a constant reminder that dangerous weather is approaching or in your community and for additional updates of that information.

We work very hard to balance our coverage and program interruptions. But when a life-threatening situation is developing or happening, our plan remains to notify viewers of the information they need to know with text crawls or live reports on the air.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Dave Location: Greenville on Jun 4, 2008 at 09:40 PM
    WITN news does nothing but talk about the weather. I have an idea, why don't you air a 30 minute show dedicated to the weather at 5:30 and show the weather free news at 6:00?
  • by Mandy Location: Greenville on May 15, 2008 at 11:54 AM
    I think that your storm coverage on Mother's day was outstanding. I have small children and like knowing about severe weather before it hits so that my children can be safe. Thank You so much!!
  • by Ashley Location: Bertie County on May 12, 2008 at 05:45 PM
    While I know that many people out there enjoy golf, I enjoy LIVING ! If it had not been for the interruptions i may have never known of the tornado that was aaffecting my area. I appluade the attention that the storms were given. Scrooling information is NOT the same as a live person explaining the current situations. So I agree with Jones County ... don't like what you are seeing, TURN THE CHANNEL .
  • by Anonymous Location: Jones County on May 12, 2008 at 10:37 AM
    If you are not happy with what's on your tv screen, change the channel. I live in the Maysville/Belgrade area and I am an EMT. While we were out doing wind damage surveys, a second storm was developing. Had it not been for the weathermen we would not have known to stop the surveying and take cover. We appreciate the advanced warnings and for those of you who don't -- FIND YOUR REMOTE.
  • by MITCH Location: WILLIAMSTON on May 12, 2008 at 08:10 AM
    I'M AN AVID GOLFER. i ENJOY VIEWING IT AS MUCH AS PLAYING. BUT WHEN LIVES ARE AT RISK AND INFOMATION HAS TO BE PRESENTED, PEOPLE NEED TO LEARN TO BE PATIENT AND DEAL FOR A MINUTE. (JUST LIKE WAITING ON THE TEE FOR THE SLOW GROUP AHEAD TO FINISH UP.) I GUESS PEOPLE JUST HAVE TO HAVE SOMETHING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT. WITN'S COVERAGE IS TOP NOTCH AND VERY INFORMATIVE. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.
  • by Emily Location: Swansboro on May 12, 2008 at 07:45 AM
    I'm sorry that those of you who were watching golf felt that your golf tournament was more important than the lives of others. I hope the next time severe weather affects YOU that you'll appreciate the information our local stations provide. A picture on the screen and "tornado warning" doesn't do it justice when you live in the area that is threatened by the storm and are wondering whether you should duck and hide. It's amazing how selfish people can be these days... only thinking of themselves.
  • by Anonymous on May 12, 2008 at 07:24 AM
    Your coverage of the pending storms was very redundant. The other stations ie channel 9 was able to scroll updated information on the screen and stop broadcasting so 2 weathermen could repeat themselves over and over and over
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