Storm warnings: How KSFY News handles severe weather coverage - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Storm warnings: How KSFY News handles severe weather coverage

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Communities in northwest Iowa are continuing to clean up after Sunday night's storms.

Some people watching the 'Once Upon a Time' finale that night were angry with KSFY's decision to cut into the show to warn families of the approaching storm. And this morning, anchor Nancy Naeve responded to the angry phone calls, tweets and Facebook posts we received -- and that response has gone viral.

But we think it's important to note, breaking into broadcast isn't something we do lightly. Here's an explanation of our severe weather coverage.

The meteorologist on call doesn't exactly make the decision alone. It's based on what they're seeing on the radar, and the warnings issued by the National Weather Service.

Sunday night's storm caused major damage to a dairy farm in Iowa, and the National Weather Service's Phil Schumacher says the storm produced multiple tornadoes. This, he says, is why their partnership with the media is so important.

"Without the help of our partners in the media -- both TV and radio -- I don't think people would be able to take the necessary actions to protect themselves and their families," Schumacher said.

Even if it means missing five minutes of a television program.

"Those five minutes may make the difference of whether you're upstairs in a place where there's a lot of windows and could get injured or down in your basement that can keep you safe," he said.

KSFY senior meteorologist Phil Schreck says our station gets the warnings from the National Weather Service, then we start the crawl. And depending on the severity of the storm, we cut in.

But we've changed when and how we cut in.

"In the past, it was our policy where we would go on air no matter where that tornado warning was," Schreck said. "We would stay on the air until the tornado was gone."

Now, it's up to the meteorologist to decide how long they stay on air.

"If a town is being affected, if a city is being affected, we're going to stay on the air," Schreck said.

That's why KSFY meteorologist Shawn Cable decided to break in Sunday night.

"When there is a confirmed tornado on the ground, headed for people's farms and homes, we are going to break in," he said. "It's just that simple. Lives are more important than TV."

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