Confusion Over Emergency Alerts & Local Coverage - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Confusion Over Emergency Alerts & Local Coverage

NewsChannel 10's Super Doppler Radar NewsChannel 10's Super Doppler Radar
EAS Alert EAS Alert
Penni Bentley Penni Bentley
City Emergency Management Coordinator Kevin Starbuck City Emergency Management Coordinator Kevin Starbuck

Amarillo, TX - One local cable provider is not providing you with the severe weather coverage you deserve.  If you have a digital cable box from sudden link and the city puts out an emergency alert, the cable provider will not allow you to see local coverage.

Penni Bentley is just one of the thousands in our area who were watching local weather coverage on Thursday when Doppler Dave disappeared under a blue screen with a woman's voice telling residents of rotating clouds.

She says, "the message says watch your local stations and I think "well, I would like to but you just blurbed over it and the audio wasn't great and it was sending strange messages so you didn't know if it was a real emergency or it wasn't."

She, like others, was confused because the voice said there was a tornado south of Amarillo.  That conflicted with NewsChannel 10 was reporting, which was no tornadoes were in our area.

City Emergency Management Coordinator Kevin Starbuck says, "when we see severe weather events, we will activate the cable cut ins and provide verbal information on what was identified and what information we've received on what the storm is doing primarily on rotation, tornadoes or tornado warnings."

That information comes from spotters. Starbuck says they all go through severe weather training and some of them have been doing it for 40 years.

Bentley has a digital cable box from Sudden Link. A representative from the provider says those customers will not see local coverage when the city issues an alert because technology prevents them from choosing which channels will not be covered by the EAS alerts...a frustrating scenario for viewers when they hear two different situations.

Bentley says "it's kinda strange that that comes up and covers up and takes over so you no longer get to see your local feed, your local maps, your local cameras, tower cams, so it defeats the purpose."

Starbuck says it is troubling to them that residents cannot switch to local channels during their alerts, so based on what happened Thursday, from now on they will keep the emergency message between 10 and 15 seconds and will return to local programming.

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