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Hey, I was watching that!

During severe weather season every year it feels like the weather refuses to cooperate with our schedules! It seems like a severe weather alert is issued every time your finally settling in to enjoy your favorite popular sport event, concert, or newest episode of in a TV series!

Today (Sunday, February 11th 2024) is an absolutley perfect example of exactly what I mean.

Here is the Severe Weather Outlook issued by the Storm Prediction Center for today across portions of the Southern United States:

A broad area of Enhanced Risk is in place today as a result of the ongoing severe weather threat in those areas. Several Torando Warnings have already been issued in this area this morning and more severe weather is expected as the afternoon continues including the risk for strong to violent tornadoes within the orange-shaded region highlighted in the graphic above. Unfortunatley, with these kinds of signifcant threats to life safety, proper messaging and early warning is paramount and must take precednce over everything else. Including, well... the Super Bowl.

That's right. In case you hadn't already guessed where I was going with this article; today is Super Bowl Sunday. Americans across the country and people around the world tune into this sporting event to watch the most important American football event of the entire year.

The residents within the deep South of the US can definetly expect some interruptions to the Super Bowl broadcast this evening and that will undoubtedly upset some fans!

The interruptions the south will see today are a perfect example of the kind of life-saving "interruptions" that almost always generate a few harsh social media posts, questions, and even pure rage directed at the weather community during any form of severe weather events across the nation, especially if "nothing" happens.

I would like to take a few moments and address these concerns and talk about why it is so important that meteorologists continue to "interrupt" your favorite shows.

First of all, it is important to note that I, and I think I can speak on behalf of the majority of the weather community with regard to this topic, always appreciate engaging with the public and that we are always looking for new and improved ways to get the most accurate, prudent, and time-sensitive information out in the most efficient way possible. We want to hear your concerns, questions, and ideas! What may come of those discussions is unknown and we can't make promises but we do want to have those discussions with you. Those discussions are all part of being a Weather-Ready Nation!

With that said we can dive into the reasons that it's so important to understand that meteorologists and public safety officials continue to interrupt your favorite TV shows in order to keep the community safe!

Early warning and public messaging are perhaps the single biggest factor to lowering the number of injuries and fatalities that occur from severe weather each year. The average number of yearly fatalities from severe weather events and tornadoes specifically has steadily declined over the last 100 years or so, likely thanks to the inception of the US Weather Bureau (now known as the National Weather Service) and the subsequent revamp of the public tornado (and other severe weather) warning process. (Graph courtesy of the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory)

Not only do severe weather warnings reduce the average number of weather-related fatalities each year but they also help prevent injuries and reduce the amount of damage caused to property each year. With advanced notice about damaging storms, residents can make the proper preparations to protect their property (i.e. bringing vehicles into garages to prevent hail damage, securing lawn furniture to prevent wind damage, and bringing livestock into barns to prevent injury.

As much as we all love football and our favorite episode of "Reacher" it is necessary to preserve life and property. Even if your home or family isn't directly impacted by a given severe weather warning your neighbors very well could be.

So please, all we ask, is to have a little bit of understanding and compassion when the weather community interrupts your Super Bowl broadcast, favorite TV shows, and your day-to-day life when severe weather threatens. We may not always get it exactly right but we're doing our best to protect the public and provide life-saving weather information to those who need it the most. We promise, your team can win the super bowl without you watching and Taylor and Travis will still be a couple at the end of the game.

Keep this article in mind the next time you're area is impacted by severe weather or other emergencies. Be kind to your local officials.

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