This is a tornado warning — one that requires you to take shelter immediately. … This is a dangerous storm.
On the afternoon of Aug. 23 and the morning of Aug. 24, WBBM Newsradio 780 provided nearly nonstop coverage of an outbreak of severe weather.
A tornado warning in Chicago’s Loop business district is an exceedingly rare event. Despite the fact that WBBM’s Prudential Plaza studios and offices have large pane glass windows, and occupants were asked to evacuate to interior hallways, no one wavered or left their posts.
During the initial moments of coverage when downtown Chicago was under a tornado warning, reporters and listeners provided play-by-play-style coverage that brought the severe weather to immediate, dramatic life.
Four hours into the coverage, severe weather remained as wave after wave of winds and rains pelted the city and suburbs.
Wherever WBBM reporters were, their rich descriptions of the weather held listeners spellbound while providing essential information regarding listeners’ safety. Eyewitness accounts added depth and perspective to the coverage, along with reports from AccuWeather meteorologists.
The next morning, cleanup was under way, but there were still new angles to pursue. WBBM continued to follow the after-effects of the storms, including downed trees, flooding, power outages, damaged buildings and boats, and cancelled flights.
Reporters even found a disgruntled citizen, peeved at the lack of response in re-establishing his electrical power.
Judges said: “Fast-paced, comprehensive and useful coverage of dangerous and unusual weather in the Chicago area made this entry the judges’ unanimous pick. Full of useful information for listeners contending with the weather during prime commuting hours as the storm broke, plus fine, evocative descriptions.”
They added: “A lovely blend of breaking news and context/color.”