Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Weather Channel punts on tornado documentary, coverage not as intense as CNN's

The Weather Channel aired a one hour “Tornado!” last night, which I thought would be a structured documentary on the recent outbreaks, but in fact it was mostly a current news program.

It started reporting from El Reno, OK on the tornado swath through the state. Later it showed the funnel clouds above Love Field (home of Southwest Airlines), near the Oak Lawn section of Dallas, when the entire terminal was evacuated after planes were emptied.

Much of the rest of the broadcast dealt with Texas, as the storms moved east of the DFW Metroplex, rather than with the possibility of recurrence over Joplin, MO, which Anderson Cooper had covered earlier in the evening (see the TV blog).

The 1996 film "Twister" by Jan de Bont (WB; Spielberg was executve producer, written by Michael Crichton) seems all to true now.

CNN's coverage (much more than Weather Channel) has emphasized that winds of this magnitude (in an F5 tornado) are not survivable, much as a tsunami is not survivable. One victim literally "went up" through a car sun roof window, sucked out of the car as in a horror film, possibly carried in the winds for miles.  This is possible with winds over 150 mph.  It has become impossible for rescuers to identify victims found miles away, even those alive (CNN report Wed. night, AC360).  CNN has also covered the damage to St. John's Hospital in Joplin in detail. 

Wikipedia attribution link for Tornado Alley frequency map (pd). 

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