Neal’s Narrative 1 – WREX Coverage of May 22nd, 2011 Tornadoes
detrol how much does it cost Introduction:
Good evening everyone, welcome to the first “Neal Narrative!” Tonight, I want to keep it local and talk about a series of videos detailing the May 22nd, 2011 tornadoes that impacted the Rockford Metro area. Three separate tornadoes, all EF-1’s, hit just after 6:00 P.M. There were no deaths and no injuries from these tornadoes. Severe wind damage was also reported throughout northern Illinois.
Eric Sorensen [Currently at WQAD]
Aaron Brackett [Currently at KFOR]
Cyndi Kahlbaum [Formerly at KTEN, WREX, WWMT]
Evaluation: [0-5] Worst to Best
Meteorological Content/Knowledge: 4
Storm Structure Identification: 3.5
Dead Air/Filler: 4.5
Station Environment: 3
Social Media/News Desk: 3.5
Overall Grade: 40/50
What worked: The composure this crew displayed as their studio was impacted by a probable tornado was excellent. They did not miss a beat in getting the word out there and emphasizing the serious nature of the situation. The crew properly identified the areas of rotation, the overall mode of storms, and related it to a previous event that caused similar damage. Even during a difficult situation, the “stale air” or fluff in the broadcast was relatively nonexistent. There were no awkward pauses to look at radar or stumbling over the description of the radar presentation. They firmly communicated the danger and alerted those downstream of where the worst of the weather was headed. They know their area well and proved it geographically by name specific areas that only a local would be able to identify.
What needed improvements: I am not a big fan of their radar software. While I am meteorologically versed, I still think there needs to be a clear separation between velocity and reflectivity products. Giving an overview of velocities and doing a bit more meteorological investigation on the broadcast would have left me satisfied. The general public does not understand many of the products shown on air, but perhaps explaining why the area near their news station was of concern. That would have gone further for those that could be downstream. I only heard social media mentioned a handful of times. Being in a metro area like downtown Rockford, I would have liked to see more live reports and/or tower cams from the areas around the city as the storm approached. Given the situation where they had to evacuate the news studio, production probably wasn’t on their mind and I can accept that. It is widely proven that when residents see the danger they are more likely to react to it and I feel any chance the media gets to show the danger, the further it will go in getting the word out. A small nitpicky thing to me was trying to describe some storm structure without (1) showing it and (2) currently identifying it. There was some confusion on identifying whether a feature was a shelf or a wall cloud. The general public probably won’t know the difference, but many others will.
What the crew couldn’t control: As the severe weather was approaching, a loud tornado siren was heard in the background. When the height of the storm was hitting, the crew had to abandon the studio. When the crew reemerged the sound of the wind and hail hitting the building drowned out the audio of the telecast. All of these things really got my juices flowing as a severe weather junkie, but also took away from the overall verbal message they were trying to convey. This had nothing to do with the staff itself, it just is the nature of the environment they were given.
Overall thoughts: My overall opinion on how WREX performed during this severe weather event is positive. The biggest things to me (1) are you communicating to your audience effectively (2) are you composed and confident in what you are saying and (3) can you effectively show what you trying to verbalize. Point blank if I lived in the area impacted at the time, would I know to take shelter? This crew appeared professional, cohesive, and prepared for even the unexpected. None of these meteorologists still work at this station, but I have confidence their severe weather coverage and plan remains the same.
13 Weather Authority – WREX: 40 out of 50. Would recommend to friends and family.
Video 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXH5QFntv_g
Video 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQMJDWl9LEI
Video 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ky_zkbMdMQs
Video 4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HjUXN59Nv8
Video 5: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6fRfNpW82U
Video 6: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5k8BuQ6Qhc