A tornado tearing through East Peoria pushed two anchors for the local NBC station WEEK off the air after the twister hit part of the station’s property yesterday morning.
Meteorologists Chuck Collins and Sandy Gallant were giving viewers on-air updates about the approaching tornado when they said they heard something. They scrambled for shelter at 11:00 a.m., leaving the anchor desk while the station went to a break.
Seven minutes later, they were back on. “OK, guys. We just had a very scary situation to report. WEEK’s TV studios was hit by…it appears to be a tornado,” said Gallant. “We were on the air just a few minutes ago. You may have seen us go off the air rather quickly and that is because, obviously, we could hear the sound of a train right outside of our station.”
“We had some slight roof damage and some power hits yesterday, and we had to go off air,” WEEK producer Greg Smith told TVNewsCheck. “But we were back up within a few minutes. We were pretty lucky.”
Gallant later told Collins on-air, “Chuck, I want to give you a hug right now because that was something else.”