LAWTON, Okla._Tuesday night gave Texoma their first taste of severe weather for the year, or at least the Texas side.
Tuesday night's storm prompted a tornado warning, but since the storm's path never left Texas, or even threatened to reach Oklahoma, many Oklahoma viewers were upset with the cut-ins which covered up their favorite shows.
It's a dilemma we deal with every storm season, because even though our local news coverage is focused on Oklahoma, our severe weather commitment extends to our entire viewing area, which includes a large portion of north Texas.
Matt DiPirro's biggest message he wanted to get across to our viewers is the importance of these warnings and how helpful they can be to someone in the area of the storm. One thing he brought up that stuck out to me is just how large the size of our Texas viewing area is.
"Square mileage-wise it is probably a little bit bigger than our southwest Oklahoma side of things, because we actually do go all the way down to Graham, Texas. If you ever did that drive in some cases it is close to 2 hours from southwest Oklahoma to that part of the viewing area," said DiPirro.
DiPirro says since our news coverage is focused more on Oklahoma that it may seem like no one from the Texas area watches for the weather, but it is quiet different.
"We've had phone calls before, we've had spotter reports before from folks in the Texas area around Texoma, because of that, if one person is watching and we can save that one person's life it makes it 100 percent worth it to cover over just a T.V. show," explained DiPirro.
DiPirro was storm chasing in the Texas area Tuesday evening and it was in that area that saw the only severe thunderstorms, and actually turned into a tornado warning. He says that shows why it is important to have a presence in the Texas area. He adds that hopefully viewers in this area saw Tuesday night's cut-ins as more of a reason to tune in during severe weather when it is north of the border.
"When we have some severe weather that comes through the Lawton area, or your town, your backyard, you'll be appreciative that we are on T.V. covering that minute by minute when it is your turn," said DiPirro.
Not everyone was upset about the coverage of Texas weather, but maybe the repeat of information. The SkyWARN7 weather team explained that they have to look at it as if when you came on T.V. that's the first time someone tuned in and they may not have the information that was told during the last cut in.
When it comes to a tornado warning in the viewing area, you can expect us to cut in and remain on the air until that warning is lifted. As far as thunderstorms, the coverage depends on the severity of the storm.