|Funnel cloud, then tornado, over east Oklahoma City. |
We broadcast the tornado live on WKY TV. Photo by Steve Tegtmeier.
|Oklahoma Tornado Tracks, June 8, 1974|
Additional tornadoes occurred in Kansas
In 1974, by custom in meteorology, it was verboten to attempt to forecast tornadoes more than a day in advance. I knew that if I did it, and I was wrong, there was a very good chance I would lose my job. In fact, our news director, Ernie Schultz, had reprimanded me the previous Thanksgiving night for forecasting snow (the other two stations plus the NWS were forecasting dry weather) even though my forecast was correct.
|Yours truly viewing the radar in the WKY TV weather department.|
In those days, radars had to be viewed in dark rooms. TV cameras
were not sensitive so we instantly went from a dark room to extremely
bright TV lighting. The eyestrain was terrible!
I told Bob that I would review the evening data and that, if it still looked solid, I would forecast tornadoes on the 10pm weathercast. As the evening charts from the 7pm weather balloon launches came into the WKY forecast center, they were incredibly ominous. So, I told the viewers that there would likely be a round of thunderstorms early in the morning (there was, my phone rang at 3:30am to go back to the station) and that tornadoes were likely in the afternoon. I urged people to monitor the weather throughout the day.
|500mb chart, June 8, 1974|
|One of 73 (!) letters, all emotional and heartfelt,|
received by WKY TV after our June 8 storm coverage.
|Letter to the Editor of the "Daily Oklahoman"|