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WFAA's weather WTF

WFAA's weather WTF

We had a BIG storm last night here in the DFW area. While there were tornadoes and hail damage and some injuries, our area managed to come out fairly well. That said, it was the scariest storm situation I can remember in the last ten years in Dallas. It was the first time we’d ever “taken shelter,” putting the cats in one windowless bathroom while we, the dogs and a bottle of wine hunkered down close to the other windowless bathroom. I know lots of our friends did the same. Were we over-cautious after seeing the recent destruction in Joplin? Maybe. But let’s be clear that this was a major “weather event.”

Even in today’s splintered media world, everyone seems to have their favorite go-to TV affiliate for weather coverage, and Belo‘s WFAA at least anecdotally leads that pack, perhaps because so many Dallasites grew up on Troy Dungan‘s forecasts.

So naturally, last night, during one of the DFW area’s biggest tornado threats, as softball-sized hail was falling, our top weather station was airing the Dancing With the Stars finale.

While there can be reasonable debate about that decision, suffice to say that sentiment on the Twitters and the blogosphere was running against that programming call. And then, someone at WFAA executed a perfect social media double-gaffe of facepalm proportions:

First came this Tweet on @wfaaweather, billed as chief meterologist Pete Delkus‘ official account (image courtesy @academicdave:


“been a difficult night trying to balance the most popular show on abc with severe storm coverage. thanks for your understanding.”

It’s worth noting that most Tweets from this account at least try to utilize some capitalization, so maybe it was dashed off quickly or posted by someone who doesn’t usually have their finger on the keyboard. Unsurprisingly, reaction on Twitter was less than understanding.

Then, once the item had been retweeted and railed about repeatedly, WFAA compounded the flub by deleting the tweet without explanation.


Is this really that difficult?

To be fair, KXAS also cut away for The Voice later in the evening, as weather subsided but threats lingered. To their credit, though, they totally pre-empted the season finale of The Biggest Loser.

Here’s a hodgepodge of commentary from last night:

And an oldie:


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  1. David Swinney
    David Swinney May 25, 2011 at 8:19 am . Reply

    Like you, Mike, we were in full storm protection mode up in West Plano.

    We don’t watch DWTS, so I was unaware of the controversy until that tweet came across Pete Delkus’ account. I believe that those stations who dumped out of network programming early made the right call, even as it made it impossible for fans of Glee (here!) and The Biggest Loser (my wife) to see the respective season finales.

    I wonder why, though, the networks would not give either affiliate the opportunity to rebroadcast those finales at a later time, given the circumstances as to why they were pre-empted.

  2. Donny Claxton @DaddyClaxton
    Donny Claxton @DaddyClaxton May 25, 2011 at 8:23 am . Reply

    Thanks for your comment over on DaddyClaxton.com. I’m glad I wasn’t alone on this one. And yes, it would have been PPV quality to have watched Pete fighting the suits.

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