Posted: Mar 12, 2011 11:02 AM by Sarah Hill and Robert Kessler
Updated: Mar 12, 2011 11:08 AM
"We're responsible for the safety of all of our viewers in all of our twenty-eight Missouri counties so we have to respond to a tornado warning."
Routinely, we get comments about why KOMU interrupts programming for severe weather alerts. Last Sunday afternoon....KOMU broke in to a golf tournament to tell viewers about the storm.
Glenda wrote us to say: "I appreciate your coverage of severe weather, but must you go on and on and continue to repeat yourself when the most popular American female golfer is trying to win her first major?"
A coupe years ago, two media outlets near Eagle Pass, Texas didn't air a tornado warning...due to a problem with the alert system. Seven people died in that tornado and 80 were injured.
Chief Meteorologist Dave Schmidt says, "With respect to a tornado warning we get on the air and we stay on the air because we never know when people are going to tune in or tune out or just join us so when they turn on the TV they want somebody there to tell them what's going on. The other situation is a severe thunderstorm warning, when we do that we simply get on the air, tell them what's going on and then get off."
"Hey is Dave Schmidt trying to get more TV time or what? He's already been on there three times...."
"People often complain about repetition," says KOMU 8 News Director Stacey Woelfel. "It seems repetitious, but the reality is that as storms move new people see the weather coming and tune in. So to the people who have been watching all along it seems repetitious but for people just tuning in it's important and perhaps life-saving information."