I didn’t get much sleep last night. All day long…well, really all weekend, I had been hearing that severe weather was on the way to Alabama. Several people, including myself, were anticipating it with dread because we haven’t had many major thunderstorms since the awful storm on April 27, 2011.
I kept up with my favorite weatherman, James Spann, most of the day yesterday. He utilizes all manner of technology to get updates and warnings out to the affected public. Not only is he on tv and radio, I follow him on twitter (@spann), Facebook, and his Ustream channel. When there is inclement weather, Spann can be found.
Even without a weatherman, anyone who has lived in the south for a decent length of time would have recognized the feel of a tornado when they stepped outside. The air carries an eerie warmth and humidity that is unmistakable. Unforgettable.
I don’t know why anyone would do this, but I heard some people were inciting fear in others by saying that last night’s weather would be a repeat of the April storm. James, however, said repeatedly to residents of Tuscaloosa that the conditions last night were not anything as severe as April 27. There were some remote areas that saw damage, but the worst parts of the storm went through areas of the county that are not heavily populated.
There was a touching moment when he spoke directly to the children in Tuscaloosa who were fearfully watching his broadcast. He walked out from behind his laptop stand, removed his glasses, and adjusted his voice from reporting mode to sympathetic daddy mode. I wish I had grabbed a pen. Then again, it wasn’t so much what he said as the way he said it. It went something like this: I know children in Tuscaloosa are watching me right now and they’re scared. There’s a lot of thunder and lightning. But I want you to understand something: Weather is good. Thunderstorms are good. They’re part of the water cycle, and our state really needs the rain. Listen carefully, if you live within the city limits of Tuscaloosa, you do not need to worry about a tornado. Don’t be afraid. There’s no reason to fear the rain and the thunder. Rain is good.
He may have said something to them about getting some sleep, but I was too busy trying to find my box of Kleenex.