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Tom Sherry This is why we interrupt programming

by Tom Sherry

KREM.com

Posted on October 19, 2009 at 1:11 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 14 at 5:17 PM

Last Wednesday it happened again. I had to break into local programming and interrupt several minutes of CBS Criminal Minds (one of my favorite shows). And yes the phone rang with some angry viewers who just don't understand why we do it. So I'll explain it again. We interrupt programming during severe weather that can kill or cause damage to our viewers and their property. Pretty simple. Last wednesday night funnel clouds were spotted over Lincoln county and were moving east toward Deer Park and Chatteroy. Doppler radar and ground observations were also reporting heavy rain, hail and strong winds. I broke into local programming several times to warn viewers that would be affected by these dangerous storms. And we showed you in later newscasts the pictures of the funnel clouds, large trees toppled, a truck crushed and other damage north of spokane. No one injured. I know that people watching CBS that night were warned.
Last winter I had to interrupt local programming to warn of heavy snow falling across the area. And of course the phone rang, "its just a little snow" they said. Well you and I know that the "little snow" that fell shutdown schools for 2 weeks and cost the inland northwest millions of dollars in damage, lost revenue and plowing expenses.
The same thing happened the winter before last. On A Sunday I had to interrupt golf to warn of heavy snow on the way. Boy did the phone ring that afternoon. Of course the storm shut down schools for a week and businesses closed for a week or more.
What happens after the storm is usually the same people who called to complain about the "little storm" are panicked and want to know "when will the schools open", "are the busses running", "when will my power come back on", "I need a plow I can't get out "? All good questions.
The reason I write about this is just to let you know that the absolute last thing I want to do is interrupt your favorite shows, But the absolute first thing I will do is break in
during times of severe weather and warn as many viewers as possible.

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