Television station evacuated on live TV as tornado bears down on city
Chief Meteorologist Matt Laubhan orders the station to evacuate as the storm approaches (Source: YouTube/Lucas Wiseman)
TUPELO, MS (KLTV/RNN) - A television station in Tupelo, MS was evacuated as an apparent tornado bore down on the city Monday afternoon and the tense seconds leading up to the evacuation were broadcast out to the station's viewers.
WTVA Chief Meteorologist Matt Laubhan was in the studio as major storms approached Tupelo. During his broadcast, Laubhan switched to the station's tower camera, which showed an ominous cloud approaching the city. He immediately ordered the station's staff to head to the basement before following behind them.
At 2:43 p.m., weather spotters reported a tornado near the city moving at around 50 MPH.
On Monday, the Weather Channel stated "major damage" took place at a shopping mall and other nearby buildings as a result of a severe storm cell. Residents and storm chasers posted pictures of flattened structures on social media sites like Twitter.
"Avoid the Tupelo area at all costs due to major damage," storm spotter Steven Heicher tweeted.
A tornado emergency was issued for the Tupelo area just after 2 p.m. on Monday.