After Criticism From a Local ABC Meteorologist, ‘World News’ Will Clarify Report on Tornadoes

By Merrill Knox 

ABC News is responding to criticism from a meteorologist at an ABC affiliate in Alabama after a report on “World News” implied Monday’s tornadoes in the region touched down with no warning.

On yesterday’s “World News,” Diane Sawyer introduced a report saying, “Something terrifying took the South by surprise last night — no warning. 25 tornadoes striking in less than 24 hours.”

Chief meteorologist James Spann of WBMA in Birmingham — who TVSpy reports was on the air for eight hours during the threat and aftermath of the tornadoestook to his blog on the station’s website to challenge Sawyer’s claim. “NO WARNING? Get a clue,” Spann wrote. “This event was forecast days in advance, and the average lead times for the entire event were 20 to 30 minutes. That is plenty of time to get to a safe place.”


“The report that aired Monday was referring to the fact that many families were surprised because they were asleep when the tornado hit in the middle of the night,” an ABC spokesperson says. “‘World News’ will cover the latest on the aftermath of the tornadoes tonight and will clarify the warning and advance forecasts given.”

Spann will also be interviewed by ABC this afternoon.

Watch Sawyer’s report after the jump.