I cannot recall a severe weather event in the nearly 25 years of doing weather at WBKO when I’ve ever been more proud of the active role everyone took to prepare for what very well could have happened.
As many of you know, only miles up the road…in northern and central Kentucky…there were fatalities from yesterday’s tornado outbreak. As I write this blog post, preliminary reports from the National Weather Service say there are 14 dead from the dozen or more twisters that hit the Commonwealth.
Yes, it was that close.
While we, the First Alert Storm Team are humbled by the thoughts of gratitude you gave us for our severe weather coverage yesterday, we are so proud of you for taking the threat seriously and coming up with a preparedness plan.
You could have brushed it off. You could have ignored it all as hype. But you didn’t. Literally thousands of NOAA weather radios moved from sitting quietly on the store shelves to roaring loudly in your homes. You networked with friends and family in social media and helped direct people to locations where shelters were set up. You took advantage of our Severe Weather Toolkit and downloaded our apps, maps and radars to your devices. You gave your kids bicycle helmets and told them why they might need them for more than just riding down the street.
And maybe the national news networks and reports of storm chasers coming to Kentucky got your attention. Hey, we don’t care about that…we’re just glad you listened and realized the potential for something dangerous to happen in our area was a valid one.
There have been so many times we’ve “dodged the bullet”, was “saved by the grace of God”…however you want to define it. But yesterday was as close as we’ve come in a long time to being part of an utter catastrophe. Others in Kentucky weren’t spared and our thoughts and prayers go out to those suffering loss. I can tell you this with a great amount of certainty…there will be a day. There will be another time and it will be our time. It has happened before (1971, 1974, 1985, 2004, 2008 just to name a few) when tornadoes have ripped across our area and took from us the lives of those we loved and cared for.
Severe storms are a part of life. They don’t quite fit so well in our modern touch-control age when we think everything should happen at the push of a button.
Wouldn’t it be great if there were an app for that? An app that would instantly control the weather and steer tornadoes out of your way…or dissipate them altogether.
We are so blessed at WBKO to have weather technology that is second to none. With that comes a huge responsibility. It is days like Wednesday and again yesterday that we train for but really hope never happen. The reality is, we know it will at some point.
Finally, we are blessed to have all of you as viewers. Whether you realize it or not, you were engaged in the process of saving lives. From the hundreds of pictures and reports you posted to watching the streaming live coverage and sharing it with friends, it all helped someone out there realize…this was real.
Now, you are much better prepared for next time.
Thank you for your trust in us.