WINK chief meteorologist Jim Farrell had his priorities questioned after criticizing a tornado alert that aired on ABC affiliate WZVN during Saturday night’s NFL playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans.
On Facebook, Farrell wrote, “OMG, its a PLAYOFF GAME. Stop telling me that there is NOT a tornado and get me back to the game. This wx alert should have lasted 30 seconds! not 20 minutes!”
WZVN was simulcasting the ESPN feed.
Trouble for Farrell is, there was a tornado and it touched down in Cape Coral, causing damage.
When a viewer told him another station was showing “major damage,” he wrote, “Yes, damage, tell me it’s coming in 30 seconds then crawl info. I’m watching an important program.”
>UPDATE: Farrell responded on Facebook:
Let me be clear that there is no question of priorities when it comes to severe weather in SW Florida. I think my track record speaks for itself. I always interrupt programming for a tornado warning, asap. My reaction was not to whether it should have been reported immediately but to the length of time devoted to delivering an important message during a live NFL playoff game. If I was on duty I would have interrupted the game to include all essential information. I can do that in a minute or two, 30 seconds if I have to. The radar image and ticker/crawl would continue at the bottom of the TV screen supplying continuous information while the TV program returned to full screen. Additional interruptions would occur as warranted as in the case of damage reports. This is a question of style not a question of priority. My style is to thoroughly warn you without trampling over your TV program, especially an important, anticipated live sporting event. ~JF