Today marks 4 years since a terrible tornado outbreak devistated north and central Alabama. And just 12 days prior, an historic outbreak occurred in central and south Alabama. Needless to say, it was an April that will not be forgotten. But, on this day, 2011, I was live…on-air….watching….informing…and praying on the inside. April 27th, 2011 is the first time I actually knew, while covering a storm, that lives were being lost. There was even a moment I had to step out of screen and take a deep breath because my heart was beating so fast and I was doing everything possible to fight back tears.
The worst part about this narrative is that I had front row seat to watch, but I could not do anything to stop it. I saw roof tops flying through the air on our skycam, transformers were exploding before my very eyes; debris, buildings, sheets of metal, and more were being hurled through the air. My heart sank to my toes, and it was that moment that marked a new beginning for me as a meteorologist.
Once the day cooled, and I was able to take a breath, I sat quietly in the still of my room. My head stirred, my heart raced, my emotions were high. I thought about the families whose lives would never be the same. I thought about the businesses starting over. The images of survivors were permenantly burned in my my brain.
That day I committed all that I do as a meteorologist to serving others. I tossed aside the need to climb the TV ladder. My entire perspective changed. I was humbled. I stopped working for the next great clip to use on my resume reel. My motivation for what I do turned from a youthful mindset of chasing success, to being an intentional voice that can help save a life.
From the simple weather days to days when I am in full severe weather mode, my goal is to educate the public, prepare them, and gain their trust before major weather events so that when storms strike their response is one of reflex, not fear. During bad weather I imagine my family. My husband. My children. And the way I see it, every viewer is extension of my family. Every one of you truly matters to me. So, I promise to serve you and your communities daily. I see every day on this earth as a gift. I am reminded that this gift was tragically cut short for so many on April 27, 2011.
April 27th was a startling and sobering reminder at the brevity of life. I work so that each family remains whole and will not be faced with tragedy too soon. Yes, things will happen out of our control and I do not get the luxury of manipulating the weather, but I promise you is this….I am here to serve you, to be your calm voice in the storm wind.
Thank you to everyone who is a part of my viewing “family.”