"This is a NewsChannel 11 severe weather update," boomed the TV announcer. The update came at 2:20 in the morning. "Thunderstorms again are developing in the South Plains," said Chief Meteorologist John Robison.
The first widespread outbreak of severe thunderstorms in 2003. Chief Meteorologist John Robison burning the midnight oil. "We were here 'till 3 in the morning," he said. 3 a.m., plotting, tracking, warning the public at the start of an overdue storm season.
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"It's almost like we're running a little bit behind this year," said Robison. "Like we might have had episodes like this maybe in late March or early April last year on a typical year. So this year the season's actually been a little slower developing," he said. But mother nature seems to be making up for lost time, with storms expected Tuesday and Wednesday.
"Typically the National Weather Service here in Lubbock has two meteorologists on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week," said Meteorologist Larry Vannozzi. Clarifying what makes a storm severe. "Severe thunderstorms mean that we're expecting hail, at least the size of a penny, or wind speeds close to 60 mph or higher. So any of that sort of conditions happening is what we'll issue a severe thunderstorm watch or warning for," said Vannozzi.
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When does seeking shelter become imperative? Meteorologists say during a storm watch, stay alert. During a storm warning, get inside. "But not just indoors anywhere," added Vannozzi. "The best place to be is a small interior room away from the outer walls, away from the windows," he said.
Being prepared to take action, no matter what time of day or night. "We have a policy. We're going to stay here as long as necessary to make sure we inform the public," says Robison.