Tornado Hits Too Close to Home for Alabama Meteorologist

By Kevin Eck 

Legendary Alabama chief meteorologist James Spann became part of the story when a tornado passed a little too close to his home.

The WBMA broadcaster was in the middle of wall-to-wall coverage of a series of storms in the Birmingham, Ala. area when weather maps showed the storm close to Spann’s house. Station staffers called Spann’s wife to check on her and then told Spann, after which he had to step away from the camera to check in on his wife himself.

“The reason I had to step out, we had major damage at my house,” Spann said when he returned to the WBMA broadcast. “My wife is OK, but the tornado came right through there and it’s not good, it’s bad. It’s bad.”


Spann, who is known for telling viewers to have a plan for severe weather emergencies, showed a picture of his backyard, which saw some major damage from the storm.

“My wife got the warning, she had a plan, she was in the shelter and she’s fine,” Spann said. “Obviously our landscaping is going to be a lot different now. We lost a lot of trees. We’ve had obviously some shingle damage, but the house is intact, it’s OK. My ask is that you consider helping those that are homeless tonight, that have lost their homes, those that have relatives who lost their lives, that are in the hospital tonight.”