A local news station's decision to interrupt Sunday's World Cup final for a severe weather update has left the station weathering a storm of its own.
The station, southern New York's WENY, halted Sunday's broadcast to alert viewers of a tornado warning in the area. The interruption came with six minutes remaining in extra time -- following Germany's game-winning goal against Argentina -- and according to the Syracuse Post-Standard, lasted throughout the remainder of the match.
In a Facebook post, WENY meteorologist Joe Veres said the decision to cut away from the World Cup was "about saving lives."
"We got reports of people trapped in a building near Watkins Glen as the storm moved through," Veres writes. "4 people lost their lives last week to a tornado in New York. We take tornado warnings very seriously here at WENY TV and we will not let a sporting event stop us from warning people."
Despite the very real and pressing news, however, the station's decision prompted howls of anguish from fans on social media:
@WENYTV are u people crazy put the game back on
— PUERTO-PRINCIPE (@reggyboa_c) July 13, 2014
You're gonna interrupt the final minutes of the World Cup with a weather update?! @WENYTV
— Mase (@MJMase11) July 13, 2014
— Jessica Cramer (@TheLadyCramer) July 13, 2014
Please stop ruining my life @WENYTV
— Logan Baker (@L_bakerr) July 13, 2014
@WENYTV HEY PUT THE GAME ON YOU IDIOTS NO ONE CARES ABOUT A TORNADO YOU DWEEBS
— pake (@JakePeacock98) July 13, 2014
@WENYTV is this a JOKE? 6 storm warnings during a 2 hour span and then you cut off the WORLD CUP for some news watch?!?!?!
— DexterSt.Jock (@AnthonyMirabell) July 13, 2014
@WENYTV hey just wanted to thank you guys for pulling the most watched tv program of all time off the air.
— Garrett Carr (@RealGarrettCarr) July 13, 2014
Thanks for making us miss the end of the World Cup @WENYTV! If we didn't hate local news before, we sure do now.
— Mack Schrock (@schrockmr) July 13, 2014
WENY has since issued a statement on Facebook, standing by their decision to interrupt the World Cup final:
I want to take a minute and thank you for the support I've received after having to break into programming for our extended tornado coverage during the World Cup Sunday afternoon. It's important for our viewers to know that we at WENY take severe weather seriously and you can bet that when potentially life-threatening severe weather is occurring, in this case it was a tornado warning, we will be on the air warning you of the danger.
In May, an ABC affiliate in South Dakota faced similar criticism after interrupting a program for tornado coverage. In that instance, however, anchor Nancy Naeve responded to viewers' criticism with a bit more heat.
"I tell you what, quit calling and ripping [the meteorologist] for being on the air to save peoples' lives." Naeve said, angrily wagging her finger towards the camera. "No show is as important as someone's life … if it was your home, and your neighbors, you would feel differently… please don't call and complain."
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