2011 Tornadoes: A Forecaster's nightmare

Aug 6, 2016

The April 2011 tornado outbreak caused widespread destruction, costing lives and billions of dollars in damage.  Local TV weathercasters helped spread the word on where tornadoes were and where they’re going. But what happens when the weatherman becomes a victim of the severe weather while he’s on the air? APR’s MacKenzie Bates has the story of one forecaster where on April 27th, 2011, the saying the story hits close to home takes on a whole new meaning.

Ask anyone in the TV news business, and they’ll tell you people tune in mostly for the weather.

confederate memorial
Carol Highsmith / Library of Congress

Many folks in Alabama will be remembering the fifth anniversary of the 2011 tornado outbreak. The twister killed 64 people and injured more than 1500 in the Tuscaloosa-Birmingham area.

WVUA-TV Chief Meteorologist Richard Scott was on the air forecasting the storms as an EF-4 Tornado destroyed 12 percent of Tuscaloosa. Scott says he still does not know how he kept his cool despite a deadly tornado heading in his direction.


The executive board of Alabama Public Television voted unanimously to hire WVUA-TV General Manager Roy Clem as its new executive director. The selection follows the controversial firing of former APT Chief Allan Pizzato and one of his lieutenants. The oustre is reportedly due to disagreement between Pizzato and members of the APT board on the airing of conservative christian programming. Mr. Pizzato is suing the board on the grounds that his firing was in violation of state law.