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Storms are brewin'

June 18, 2009 - Per Peterson
As storms rolled across parts of our region Tuesday night, Kelsey Duckett, one of our sports writers, questioned why some of us get over-excited about thunderstorms. I get where she’s coming from — ohh, thunder, big deal. But it is a big deal, because around here a thunderstorm watch can turn into a warning just like that. That warning can turn into a tornado watch just like that. That watch can turn into a tornado warning … just like that. We’ve seen it happen in these parts before, and as far as our reaction goes, Kelsey hasn’t seen nothin’ yet. Wait until we get a tornado warning and the sky turns green. Then she’ll see me run for a camera and head out to get a photo and/or story. We overreact because that’s what we’re supposed to do. We get excited — not the best choice of words; how about … anxiously nervous — because in this business, we have to. We have to assume the worst from our weather, we all do. We’ve learned that weather can turn ugly in the blink of an eye, and we in the newsroom have to be prepared to cover it. If we let our guard down and assume nothing will happen, then it does, now what? The last thing we want is a tornado ripping through our area, but if it does happen, we need to be there to tell the story. I’ve driven out in storms on numerous occasions — partly out of curiosity, but mostly to get my elusive funnel photo and because of my want to be there if something happens. And each time I go out, I come back empty-handed — just another bad storm with dark, oddly-shaped clouds. By the time I get back to the office the sun is out. But if I sit at my desk and hope nothing happens, I run the risk of missing the photo or the story. With that said, I’m making a request to everyone who reads this to not be afraid to give us a call at any time if you have something to report — wind damage, hail, power outages, funnel clouds, excessive rainfall amounts, anything. Consider yourself personal spotters — only don’t put yourself in harm’s way. I don’t want you to go out and chase a tornado just so you can get a photo in the paper — that’s our job. Simply let us know what’s going on in your neck of the woods. This goes for everyone, but especially for farmers. More often than not, when tornadoes form, they form out in the country. And since we can’t be in two places at the same time, it helps to have people out there who might be in the middle of a hellacious storm. Take care of yourself first, then give us a call (537-1551) and let us know what happened.


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