Behind The Scenes During Severe Weather

Monday, March 27th 2017, 12:24 pm
By: News 9

Every News 9 meteorologist plays a vital role when covering severe storms. So, we head into the weather center to see exactly how they work together to keep your family safe.

"Severe weather days are big around here," said Meteorologist Cassie Heiter.

From the minute severe weather is predicted, the team comes into the weather center early, each with their own assignments.

"We kind of think about it as manning your battle stations if you will," said Meteorologist Lacey Swope.

Meteorologist Matt Mahler mans all of News 9's social media accounts, including Facebook and Twitter.

"Compared to everybody else, I might start a couple of hours earlier maybe even a day earlier," Mahler said. "It's good to get the word out as early as possible."

For Swope, she monitors the NextGen Live radar.

"Whenever I walk in, first thing is just kind of make sure everything with radar is up and running," she said. "As the storms start to fire up my role quickly turns into just running radar, basically keeping an eye on the entire state while David's on the wall."

Heiter also stays close, tracking the storm's path.

"I'm standing right there next to Lacey and she's running the radar but I'm doing the storm tracks on Pathfinder," Heiter said. "I'm responsible for showing that track and putting that track out, where that storm is, where it's going and when it's going to get there."

During the weather event, Mahler's posts become constant.

"I'll try to give information as quickly as I can across Twitter, across Facebook," Mahler said. "I'll grab images of our radar. I'll grab radar loop images so that you can see where the storms are heading."

Justin Rudicel makes sure all storm trackers are in place out in the field.

"A lot of times there's six, seven, eight different trackers out," Rudicel said. "My job is to tell them the best roads, navigation. They need to know what their next step is, two or three steps ahead."

The team admits it can get a little fast paced and stressful.

"David calls it running and gunning and that's what we do, you know, you have to," said Swope. "You have to keep up with the weather and you have to keep viewers one step ahead. It's all hands on deck until the storms are completely out of the state."
Each person focuses on exactly what they need to do to completely cover all of Oklahoma's 77 counties.

"Every single storm is important to someone and it's going to affect somebody in a way that they probably didn't know about," Mahler said.

"It feels good to know you just got through this long day and helping to keep people safe," Heiter added.