Area needs Channel 12 weather reports

Published 6:48 pm Thursday, March 7, 2019

The tornado that cut a mile-wide, 24-mile long swath across Lee County Sunday afternoon caused heartbreak that may never heal for some. A total of 23 people were killed, none of whom expected that day would be their when they woke up Sunday morning. An EF-4 tornado can do that. For that very reason, it’s extremely important for Alabama residents to hope for the best while being prepared for the worst.

Being prepared means having a NOAA weather radio in your home and being tuned to it on bad-weather days. It means taking in the weather channel for the long-range forecasts.

Unfortunately for those of us in Chambers County, there’s a tremendous resource out there we should be able to receive, but do not. We’re referring to the excellent weather coverage provided by WSFA Channel 12 in Montgomery. For many years, TV viewers in Chambers County could get Channel 12 on cable. That hasn’t been the case for several years now. It’s not only a shame, it can be life threatening for some.

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Channel 12’s coverage of Sunday’s storms has been hailed by The Washington Post.

“It was coverage that blew away veteran broadcast meteorologists with its clarity, thoroughness and calm-yet-serious tone,” wrote Matthew Cappucci for The Post.

It’s hard to understand how such coverage was once provided to us in Chambers County, but no longer is. For safety’s sake alone, people who live in this region should be able to have this information source. Storm systems affecting us tend to follow I-85, heading from the southwest to the northeast. The weather team from Montgomery’s NBC affiliate is perfectly positioned to give us early warning of dangerous weather heading our way.

This is something that needs to change.

“I had a bad feeling about that storm all along,” Channel 12 Chief Meteorologist Josh Johnson told The Post. “I made the decision to go on the air before any tornado warning was issued for this storm, which isn’t something we do unless we are very concerned.”

That concern was justified, so is our concern that we’re not getting the best weather coverage we could be getting.

Everyone wants to know where the bad weather is before it gets here. In most cases, it moves through Alabama before it gets to Georgia. Those of us who live near the state line should be given the choice of having an early-warning system in the form of an Alabama station acclaimed for its storm-warning capabilities.