SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - On Saturday, just before 5 p.m., an EF-1 tornado hit Whitemarsh and Wilmington islands, leaving a swath of overturned boats and roofs ripped from buildings.
In what is quickly becoming our very own version of a tornado alley, the scene was eerily reminiscent of what happened last July, when a pop-up storm spurned a twister that Oatland Island and other Wilmington residents are still recovering from.
Like last year’s tornado, we’re very fortunate that no one was seriously injured or killed, even though Chatham County’s emergency sirens failed to sound.
In what appears to be a coincidental matter of horrible timing, CEMA Director Dennis Jones tells us that National Weather Service’s Emergency Managers Weather Information Network was down for maintenance. That’s the system that automatically triggers the sirens when tornadoes are evident.
Consider this: While the county wasn’t there to alert you, WTOC was, without fail. Also without fail, whenever we interrupt sports on the weekends for severe, potentially damaging and deadly weather, I hear from disgruntled viewers, many who are not very kind with their word choices.
We understand the importance of sports, but we also fully understand the importance of our obligation to serve all 20 counties of this community, and when the choice is between sporting events and protecting lives, we’ll make the same one every time, because as was the case this weekend, we may be the only warning you get.