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Intense video shows driver’s close call with death in Alabama tornado

Veteran Alabama meteorologist James Spann was on the air covering Thursday’s deadly spate of tornados when he learned his own home had been struck by a twister — yet he kept right on broadcasting.

Spann — who works for the ABC affiliate in Birmingham — did take a short break from the camera to check that his wife was OK, his admiring colleagues recalled on Friday to Al.com

“What I’m doing is texting my wife to be sure she’s in the shelter,” Spann told one co-worker during his brief hiatus on Thursday afternoon.

Knowing what he knows, Spann had insisted a few years back that his new home have a storm shelter built specifically to withstand a tornado, ABC noted.

Back on the air, Spann made sure to apologize to his listeners for stepping away.

“The reason I had to step out,” he explained, “we had major damage at my house.”

He added, ‘My wife is OK, but the tornado came right through there and it’s not good. It’s bad. It’s bad,” he said.

Then he got right back to reporting on the twisters whirling on a northeast path through the state, interrupting only briefly to update worried fans.

“I’ll shoot straight with you guys,” he told viewers at one point, sharing a photo of his wrecked backyard.

“It’s been a rough day. Very rough day.”

Weatherman James Spann with his wife Karen in Birmingham, Alabama.
Weatherman James Spann with his wife Karen in Birmingham, Alabama.
Facebook

Fortunately, his house remained “intact,” he told viewers.

“My wife got the warning, she had a plan, she was in the shelter and she’s fine,” he said.

“Obviously our landscaping is going to be a lot different now. We lost a lot of trees,” he added.

“We’ve had obviously some shingle damage, but the house is intact, it’s OK.”

Fans flocked to Twitter to call him a hero, and colleagues to call him an inspiration, but Spann just wanted folks to think instead of those who actually lost their homes.

Some, he tweeted Thursday, “are homeless tonight.”

Meteorologist James Spann anchored live storm coverage in Alabama on Thursday and revealed on-air that his home had sustained damage from a tornado.
Spann had a tornado shelter at his home that his wife used to remain safe during the storm.
ABC 33/40 NEWS

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