"THE VILLAGE OF OAKFIELD IS DESTROYED..."
METEOROLOGISTS SAVED LIVES THAT NIGHT
On the 10:00 news, the first words the anchor delivered were, "The Village of Oakfield is destroyed tonight."
I was producing the news in Green Bay. It was my first summer out of college, and I had barely gotten my feet under me as a rookie producer for the CBS station there. Milwaukee guy Tim Blotz was anchoring the news. You may remember him from his many years here at TMJ4.
Those pointed, and all too true words were accompanied by video tape of horrifying destruction. I sat there in the control room and watched these first pictures coming in from Fond du Lac County and my mouth dropped wide open.
Somehow, nobody was killed. An F-5 twister ripped right through the heart of a village just after dinner time when everybody's home, and somehow, nobody was killed.
I credit the meteorologists that night with saving lives. I can't speak for what the guys did here, but I remember my man Tom Mahoney up in Green Bay essentially taking over the 6PM news, and then ruining everyone's Wheel of Fortune viewing so he could update people on the tornado warnings.
I wrote this entry for three reasons: a quick trip down memory lane, an excuse to run those cool photos, and to tip my hat to the weather guys. Look, I'm with you. There's nothing worse to have your favorite prime time show interrupted by one of those weather alerts so they can tell you it's raining really hard somewhere far away from where you live. I get it. I've been there. But Oakfield is a reminder why it's so important for those guys to stay on top of things, and pass their warnings on to all of us. Even if it means missing Wheel of Fortune.