Broadcasters tribute to Moore tornado coverage
Ponca City Now - May 20, 2014 7:00 am
This time a year ago broadcasters where already gearing up for what they knew could be a monster of a storm in Central Oklahoma.
However, they didn’t know how much of a monster it would be.
“About the time that we think we know something about tornadoes mother nature teaches us a new lesson."
According to Weather Underground, a tornado warning was issued for Moore at 2:40 p.m.
A radar indicated rotation reaching the ground at 2:52
First reports of a tornado in progress was at 2:56
The Tornado dissipated at 3:36
In less than one hour Mother Nature had killed 24 people, injured 377 and destroyed 17 miles of Oklahoma ground.
Broadcasters around the state had wall-to-wall coverage.
" T his is a violent, deadly, deadly tornado so please take cover if you’re in the path of this thing.
A year later, broadcasters and viewers around the state can still hear the cries of victims.
“They told us to get in the bath tub immediately and put the mattress on, and when we put the mattress on I got on top of me and Andy at our house."
My brothers house is five doors down from me and we had to dig him out of his garage."
"Every things gone. I am just scared I don’t know what the futures going to hold.”
Another thing heard around the state was the love coming from every single corner.
"When we really shine is when the storm is passed and the recovery efforts start."
Radio stations were announcing press releases hot off the printer from organizations like Red Cross and Oklahoma Blood Institute about shelters and places you could get treated.
They were using their public forum to collect donations and allowing callers a place to get answers.
It was obvious Oklahoma was listening.
”Any death is one too many, but when you think about 24 lives lost and then you look at the destruction and the path you would have expected that death count to be higher."
If you look at the Joplin numbers and you look at the Oklahoma City, Moore numbers you can see that people were listening.
"The entire community heard that message, people were going home early, they were picking up their children early.”
First responders and nearby hospitals where also listening preparing for their duties.
Everyone continued listening for days following the storm.
" We have no water, no electricity, no nothing, I just wanted to say thank you so much to you guys for broadcasting because you guys are the only window to the world we have right now. Very appreciative of you guys."
No one could imagine having another mega tornado in Oklahoma after May 3 , 1999.
Not only did the state have another EF-5, it took an eerily similar path, Moore falling victim both times.
These clips came from this video dedicated to Oklahoma City broadcasters, created by the National Association of Broadcasters.
The video made its rounds at Capital Hill and Federal Communication Commission offices as a reminder of the value of local T.V. and radio as first informers.