Tornado Firsts

Did you know that in the 1940s, it was forbidden to use the word "tornado" in a weather forecast? Since there was no way to accurately predict a tornado, there was no use in causing panic. Even after the Air Force found a method of predicting the storms, no one wanted to say it -until 1952.
Only a few weeks after signing on as WKY-TV’s weatherman, Harry Volkman made broadcast history. The Oklahoma City station was near enough to Tinker Field that they could pick up weather alerts issued to personnel at the Air Force Base. On the afternoon of March 21, 1952, station manager P.A. “Buddy” Sugg learned that a “tornado risk” for central Oklahoma had been announced by meteorologists at the Base and he instructed Volkman to relay the information on the air. Volkman hesitated, worried that he could very well be arrested (since the word “tornado” was still officially verboten by the FCC), but Sugg told him, “They’d arrest me, not you; you’re just following my orders.”

Harry Volkman informed viewers of the impending storm, using the word “tornado” during a weather broadcast for the first time and probably saving some lives in the process, as that particular storm system ended up being the ninth deadliest tornado outbreak in U.S. history.

Mental_floss has more tornado history: the first account of a tornado in America, the first accurate forecast, the first photographed tornado, and more. Link

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