Home Emergency Management News Meteorologist says she got death threats after interrupting Masters for tornado warning
Meteorologist says she got death threats after interrupting Masters for tornado warning

Meteorologist says she got death threats after interrupting Masters for tornado warning

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An Atlanta television meteorologist said she got death threats Sunday after her station interrupted coverage of the Masters golf tournament when a tornado warning was issued.

Ella Dorsey, a meteorologist with WGCL-TV, explained during Sunday's 11 p.m. broadcast that a plan for how the station was going to handle the severe weather was made beforehand, including that it would use a split screen so that the Masters could still be watched.

But the sound couldn't be heard, and viewers complained the tornado alert could have been communicated by a scroll at the bottom of the screen or a phone alert.

"The thousands of hateful emails and phone calls and Tweets that (fellow meteorologist) Jennifer (Valdez) and I and the CBS 46 newsroom received are unacceptable," Dorsey said. "Here at CBS 46, our number one priority is to keep you all safe."

She also Tweeted about the responses saying lives are more important than five minutes of golf.

"You wouldn't be saying a damn thing if a tornado was ravaging your home this afternoon," she said.

To everyone sending me death threats right now: you wouldn't be saying a damn thing if a tornado was ravaging your home this afternoon. Lives are more important than 5 minutes of golf. I will continue to repeat that if and when we cut into programming to keep people safe.

-- Ella Dorsey (@Ella__Dorsey) April 14, 2019

Tournament organizers recognized there was a threat of severe weather, changing the schedule on Saturday so rounds would be played earlier in the day before the worst of the storms threatened.

"The Masters used a pro-active approach rather than a 'hope' plan," wrote Forbes columnist and University of Georgia atmospheric sciences professor Marshall Shepherd.

Shepherd, a former president of the American Meteorological Society, said the Federal Communication Commission expects stations to alert viewers. One of the most consistent complaints about the CBS interruption was that weather apps can replace television alerts, Shepherd noted.

"There are still a significant number of people (elderly, vulnerable and marginalized populations) that may not have other resources to receive a warning," Shepherd wrote.

Tornadoes were reported over the weekend in a swath of the southeast from Texas through Georgia, according to the Storm Prediction Center. At least eight people were killed in the event.

This article is written by By Kimberly Miller kmiller@pbpost.com from The Providence Journal and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.