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ABC World News clarified their reporting tonight while interviewing a family who was hit by the tornadoes. See the bottom of the diary for details.


ABC World News with Diane Sawyer dropped a nice, steaming pile of lies as their lead story last night:

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SAWYER: Something terrifying took the south by surprise last night. No warning, 25 tornadoes striking in less than 24 hours, roaring through 4 states in the darkness. [...]

That whole statement is absolute, unadulterated horseshit and they know it. Jump the fold.

This tornado outbreak was forecast days in advance, and the potential impacts were emphasized due to the fact that it's January and people don't expect severe weather in the winter. The heavily-publicized effects of the tornado outbreak began on Sunday morning, with the SPC issuing a relatively rare "moderate risk" for severe thunderstorms over the area that was raked by tornadoes Sunday night and Monday morning:

THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER IN NORMAN OK IS FORECASTING THE DEVELOPMENT OF TORNADOES...WIDESPREAD DAMAGING WINDS...AND HAIL OVER PARTS OF THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI...LOWER OHIO...AND TENNESSEE VALLEYS LATE THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH EARLY MONDAY.

THE AREAS MOST LIKELY TO EXPERIENCE THIS ACTIVITY INCLUDE

          NORTHERN AND CENTRAL ALABAMA
          EASTERN AND SOUTHERN ARKANSAS
          SOUTHERN ILLINOIS
          SOUTHERN INDIANA
          WESTERN AND CENTRAL KENTUCKY
          SOUTHEASTERN MISSOURI
          NORTHERN AND CENTRAL MISSISSIPPI
          WESTERN AND MIDDLE TENNESSEE

[snip]

AS THE STORMS BUILD AND INTERACT WITH THE JET STREAM WINDS...SOME OF THEM LIKELY WILL BECOME LONG-LIVED SUPERCELLS...POSING A RISK FOR STRONG TORNADOES IN ADDITION TO DAMAGING WIND AND HAIL.  THE TORNADO THREAT SHOULD BE GREATEST THIS EVENING AND EARLY TONIGHT OVER EASTERN ARKANSAS...NORTHERN MISSISSIPPI...AND WESTERN TENNESSEE.  THE STORMS LIKELY WILL EVOLVE INTO AN EXTENSIVE LINE LATER TONIGHT...EXTENDING THE RISK FOR DAMAGING WIND AND POSSIBLE TORNADOES THROUGH DAWN MONDAY NORTHWARD AND EASTWARD TO THE WESTERN SLOPES OF THE SOUTHERN AND CENTRAL APPALACHIANS.

Hell, this is a political website and you guys kept my severe weather discussion diary at the top of the rec list for almost 12 hours yesterday. This tornado outbreak was rare, but it was NOT a surprise.

What's even worse than the "surprise" line is that Sawyer says they struck with no warning. Again, let me be the first to say bull-fucking-shit. Hundreds of meteorologists on television and behind the scenes worked for hours to send out warnings for all the tornadoes that formed on Sunday night and Monday morning. For the pleasure of the fact-oriented reader, here are the tornado warnings issued by the three NWS offices in the hardest hit areas -- Little Rock, Memphis, and Birmingham.

NWS Little Rock:

NWS Memphis:

NWS Birmingham:

42 tornado warnings in the 3 hardest hit NWS areas, all issued between 7PM Sunday and 8AM Monday. "No warning" my ass.

Oh, and by the way, there were six tornado warnings issued on the storm that produced the EF-3 damage in Jefferson County AL:

Warning #1:

AT 230 AM CST...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO.  THIS DANGEROUS STORM WAS LOCATED NEAR CARROLLTON...MOVING EAST AT 50 MPH.

Warning #2:

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR NORTHERN TUSCALOOSA COUNTY
UNTIL 315 AM CST...

AT 253 AM CST...EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT REPORTED DAMAGE!  THIS TORNADO WAS LOCATED 5 MILES EAST OF LAKE TUSCALOOSA BINION CREEK  LANDING...OR 10 MILES NORTH OF HOLT...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 45 MPH. TAKE COVER NOW!

Warning #3:

AT 321 AM CST...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR WAS TRACKING A THUNDERSTORM WITH A HISTORY OF PRODUCING DAMAGE FROM A POSSIBLE TORNADO. THIS THUNDERSTORM WAS LOCATED NEAR OAK GROVE...OR 10 MILES WEST OF HUEYTOWN...MOVING EAST AT 45 MPH.

LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
BIRMINGHAM...SYLVAN SPRINGS...WEST JEFFERSON...MAYTOWN...MULGA...MINOR...ADAMSVILLE...GRAYSVILLE...ENSLEY AND FORESTDALE.

Warning #4:

AT 407 AM CST...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR WAS TRACKING A LARGE RADAR DEBRIS SIGNATURE WITH AN INTENSE CIRCULATION. THIS TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR PINSON-CLAY-CHALKVILLE...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 55 MPH.

LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
SPRINGVILLE...ODENVILLE...ARGO...MARGARET...BRANCHVILLE...HOLLY SPRINGS...ST. CLAIR SPRINGS...HIGHLAND LAKE AND CALDWELL.

Warning #5:

* AT 412 AM CST...STORM SPOTTERS AND THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WERE TRACKING A LARGE AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TORNADO NEAR CLAY... OR NEAR TRUSSVILLE. DOPPLER RADAR SHOWED THIS TORNADO MOVING NORTHEAST AT 55 MPH.

THIS IS A TORNADO EMERGENCY FOR CLAY...SPRINGVILLE...ARGO...TAKE COVER NOW.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
  SPRINGVILLE...ODENVILLE...MARKTON...RAINBOW CITY...GADSDEN... JACKSONVILLE...HOKES BLUFF...MARGARET...BRANCHVILLE AND ASHVILLE.


It finally lost its rotation after they issued Warning #6, nearly two hours after the storm crossed into NWS Birmingham's coverage area.

I take serious issue when a major network news program distorts the facts and tries to downplay the hard work meteorologists did yesterday that saved lives. ABC World News, if you're that fucking desperate for dramatic disaster reporting, just do what you always do -- rush to the nearest rubble pile and make an out-of-touch reporter feign empathy for the dead family behind him as he tries to win a Murrow award. It's worked for you in the past.

If Diane Sawyer and her production team at ABC World News want to come out of this story with any shred of integrity, stop with the horseshit lies and make a correction to your "reporting."

8:27 AM PT: Full disclosure: I wrote this late last night, and kept referring to the outbreak as happening "yesterday." Since I decided not to post it until today, I went through and edited references to "last night" to reflect that the event happened Sunday night/Monday morning.

9:53 AM PT: It appears that ABC has taken notice of the amount of noise meteorologists like James Spann and residents of the South are making...

10:11 AM PT: ABC News will interview the chief meteorologist of ABC 33/40 in Birmingham AL this afternoon. All indications point towards ABC issuing a correction story tonight. Good.

3:17 PM PT: Mediaite reports that ABC News will issue a clarification on tonight's show:


“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.”

3:53 PM PT: ABC News clarified last night's statement in a report today:


[Steve Osunsami]: "The Adams and so many other families here had time to get to their safe place because the warnings came early. Their trusted forecasters started spreading the word last Thursday, days before the storm."

They also encouraged viewers to download iPhone apps like iMap Weather Radio or physical NOAA Weather Radios to alert you while you're asleep. It's a smoke detector for the weather.

Thank you, ABC News. I hope you research your shit before you report it from now on. Hahaha! I crack myself up. They ain't gonna do that.


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