For years, I have joked that the only time a radio DJ can be absolutely sure people are hanging on his or her every word is when severe weather strikes. But severe weather is no joke to all of us at Magic. When severe thunderstorms or tornadoes threaten, we take it seriously, monitoring the National Weather Service and getting updates from the News 3 Weather Center.
When a tornado warning is issued, it means the bad weather is out there and you should go to a safe place, like your basement, until it passes. Even radio and TV people are supposed to do this, but in the heat of the moment, some of us have been known to forget it. Years ago, I was working a new job in Clinton, Iowa, at a little station in a prefab house on a hill outside of town, and I wasn't too clear on the geography of the area yet. One evening a tornado warning came in, and it said that there was a tornado on the ground seven miles southwest of Miles, Iowa. I wasn't sure where that was, exactly, so I asked my on-air partner, who had grown up in the area.
She got a funny look on her face and said, "That's . . . here," and she promptly headed to the basement. I did precisely the opposite---because I had never seen a real live tornado before, I ran outside to look for the stupid thing. As it turned out, I couldn't see it. We figured that it probably went back up into the cloud it had come out of. Lucky for me. If it had been on the ground, I might have gotten blasted by a flying pig or something. This was Iowa, after all.