Mom in Missouri relays tornado info to daughter in Arlington

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by CASEY NORTON

WFAA

Posted on April 4, 2012 at 6:34 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 4 at 7:45 PM

ARLINGTON — Tuesday's storms prove that weather-watchers are getting their news from more places than just television.

It was a record day for WFAA.com with more than 11 million page views and more than one million unique visitors.

Nearly 800,000 viewers watched video feeds and newscasts that were streamed throughout the day.

For one Arlington family, the Internet was the only weather coverage they could receive, and it was channeled to them from St. Louis, Missouri.

Inside her Arlington home, when Kristin Hodges lost power, she knew storms were on the way. "At that point, I started e-mailing my mom that I had no power," Hodges said.

Her mother lives 600 miles away near St. Louis.

Sally Ward received the e-mail and knew it meant storms were in North Texas. She logged in to WFAA.com to track the radar and relay the warnings from Chief Meteorologist Pete Delkus by phone.

"On the radar, I could see the purple right over her area right where she lived," Ward said from her office in Missouri.

Ward survived a tornado there nearly one year ago. She was inside Ferguson Christian Church when a twister sucked the roof into the sky on Good Friday. She wanted to make sure her daughter in Texas knew what was headed her way.

"It was amazing, because her text didn't work, her phone didn't work. The only thing that worked was the e-mail on her phone," Ward said, remembering how she started to email the play-by-play coverage to Hodges.

Hodges and her son were in the dark, reading stories with a flashlight in the bathtub when the first e-mail was received. It was the first of a dozen updates.

  • "WFAA says tornado down in Euless and DFW, stay in touch with me."
  • "It's at 20 and Cooper, stay put."
  • "Radar shows it's right over you."

The tornado ripped through Arlington, colliding with buildings just a quarter of a mile away.

When the storm lifted, Hodges returned the e-mails.

  • "It's clear outside and the sirens are off. Thanks and I love you."

Without any damage at her house, Hodges remained thankful that her mom was watching out for her.

"She had the computer right there in front of her face, and she was letting me know what was going on. It was a little comforting," Hodges said.

Ward was relieved to know she had helped guide her family through the storm.

"This is great," she said. "The technology and the way it reaches out and helps and works like that."

E-mail cnorton@wfaa.com

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