Joplin Meteorologist warning of storm is Lincoln native

A Lincoln native and UNL graduate helped warn Joplin residents of the deadly EF–5 tornado while working at the local television station there.

The images coming out of Joplin Missouri continue to flood in–showing the devastation left from Sunday's EF–5 tornado.  Lincoln native Caitlin McArdle found herself right in the middle of it all– working as a meteorologist for Joplin's KSFN-TV. She was on the air warning residents of the impending weather.  “We zoomed our tower cam into the south of us and then we started seeing those flashes those transformers blowing and so that's when we realized the gravity of the situation and we just had to warn the viewers and tell them that they need to take cover,” McArdle said.

This video from the station's tower cam was the first indication a tornado was on the ground. But instead of taking cover–McArdle and the rest of the KSNF team stayed on the air–breaking the news…and trying to save lives!

“EF–5 tornados are so extremely rare and to know that one that big was just 7 blocks away from the station gosh I can't even explain what I was feeling at that moment,” McArdle said.

McArdle said being at work–actually helped–because instead of panicking she was able to stay busy– saying she didn't grasp what actually happened for a couple days.

“I don't think I let it sink in for a few days I think last night was the first time that I really broke down and realized exactly what I had seen and exactly how rare that is actually can't believe now how calm I stayed at that moment,” McArdle said.