Strong Storms, Tornadoes Hit The Midwest
November 18, 2013 at 8:26 AM (PT)
Severe storms hit parts of the MIDWEST YESTERDAY (11/17), with ILLINOIS and INDIANA suffering through several tornadoes. Perhaps worst hit was WASHINGTON, IL, just outside PEORIA.
L&L BROADCASTING/PEORIA OM RANDY RUNDLE told ALL ACCESS, "L&L BROADCASTING's PEORIA stations first delivered word of possible tornadoes YESTERDAY morning at 7:30a. When the threat suddenly escalated, we went wall-to-wall on our News/Talk WMBD (News Talk 1470 & 100.3). As actual storms developed at 10:30a and before the tornadoes hit the first of four areas, we stopped regular programming on all six stations in the cluster, and went wall to wall, simulcasting on all six with Emergency Weather and on scene coverage."
RUNDLE continued, "The other five stations are WSWT (LITE ROCK 107(, WPBG (93.3 THE DRIVE), WDQX (102.3 MAX-FM), WXCL (104.9 THE WOLF) and WIRL (1290 & 102.7). As the storm swept through one town, then the next, and into the next, two of our stations switched to generator power to stay on the air. All six stations stayed with the wall to wall Emergency Weather Coverage for 10 hours, until 9p SUNDAY, with News staff reporting from the devastated areas. The tornado's intensity peaked at an F4. Over 200 homes leveled, many hundreds of others damaged. One person was killed, about 100 injured; 150,000 people were without power last night. About 30,000 homes and businesses are still without power this morning. All schools in the affected towns are closed."
"One of our staff members and his family has lost everything in the tornado," said RUNDLE. "Fortunately, they weren't seriously injured."
With the storms gone, comes the cleanup, and RUNDLE said all his stations, "are out at multiple locations in the community taking cash donations that will go to our Radio Rescues Tornado Relief fund, working through The local RED CROSS Regional Headquarters in PEORIA. Listeners have been responding, donating at the rate of $1,000 per hour so far this morning. Anyone wanting to donate can call 1-800-RED-CROSS and specify that their donation goes to CENTRAL ILLINOIS Tornado Relief."
The storm was more than just something that happened in town for him, as RUNDLE shared, "The tornado missed my home by about 300 yards. You know what they say about the 'freight train' sound? For me, it was more of a sound like the mix of jets taking off at the airport and thunder. Only this time, the sound didn't stop. I heard that sound for about 10 minutes until the tornado passed close by my house and blasted its way by, leaving houses and businesses two blocks from my place destroyed."
“All of our staffers are safe,” added Country WXCL PD DR. CHRIS MICHAELS. “There are a few where their homes got hit pretty hard, but everyone is safe. We have an AM News/Talk station that all six of our stations are hardwired to. All we had to do was flip the switch and simulcast with them. We had the Mayor, the RED CROSS, and the NATIONAL GUARD on during our wall-to-wall coverage. We had reporters out, as well as our video department out taking video. We made sure to cover the storm the best we could.”
WXCL/PEORIA is currently out on location at SUPER WALMARTs around the area until 6p collecting donations for the RED CROSS. They also have their station vehicles filled with water and blankets for those in need. Since this morning, the station has already raised $12,000.