WVXU: Survivors of tornado 'Super Outbreak' share their stories

UC adjunct professor was a newly hired news reporter on an ominous day in 1974

It was April 4, 1974, and Thomas McKee was 12 weeks into a new job as a field reporter for WCPO/Channel 9 in Cincinnati when tornado warning sirens went off for the first time — ever — in Hamilton County . 

“I can remember a yellow corvette upside down in a front lawn,” in Green Township, says McKee, who is currently an adjunct professor of media production at the University of Cincinnati's College Conservatory of Music. 

In a special WVXU segment devoted to what was one of the deadliest weather events in U.S. history, McKee joined a panel to discuss their collective memories of the devastation.

“Somebody (at the station) had the presence of mind to push a news camera outside to run a live shot,” so the public could see what was happening in real time, McKee recalls of how comparatively limited live weather reporting was at the time.

He also recalls being on I-75, near what is now Cincinnati State, and watching the tornado dance across the hilltops.

The panel also consisted of chief meteorologist Steve Horstmeyer from Fox19Now and local residents who experienced the tornadoes firsthand.

Listen to the WVXU segement.

Featured image at top of tornado funnel: iStock Photo/mdesigner125

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