WBMA Meteorologist James Spann to Diane Sawyer: ‘Get a Clue’ on Tornado Reporting

By Merrill Knox 

James Spann, chief meteorologist at Birmingham ABC-affiliate WBMA, is criticizing Diane Sawyer for her report on the Alabama tornadoes on yesterday evening’s “World News.”

Spann took to his blog to criticize Sawyer’s claim the pre-dawn tornadoes “took the South by surprise last night, no warning” (watch above).

“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.”

Spann, who was on the air with the WBMA from midnight to 8 a.m. on Monday morning with tornado coverage, says it is station policy “to provide long form, uninterrupted severe weather coverage if ANY county in our market goes under a tornado warning.”

“Diane … let’s debate,” Spann wrote on Twitter yesterday evening. “You say there was no warning for AL tornadoes. I say you are wrong.”

>Update: “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.”