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ABC 33/40 shines as tornado hits Tuscaloosa

A couple weeks ago, we wrote about the incredible work of ABC 33/40 meteorologist James Spann, both on-air on in social media. Yesterday, as a tornado tore through Tuscaloosa, Spann and fellow meteorologist Jason Simpson were watched live around the country. (Here’s the most dramatic moment.)

Just like before — but multiplied several times — viewers sent Spann thousands of updates and photos via his Facebook wall and Twitter. While on air for nearly the entire day yesterday, he tracked the historic storms while popping up viewer photos — and he even published a few tweets and Facebook updates while on TV. ABC 33/40′s live coverage was also streaming on UStream, which had nearly 30,000 concurrent viewers for hours.

Some of the most dramatic Facebook posts on Spann’s wall came from people pleading for help for their friends trapped in homes after the tornado. Then today, people are posting their thanks and admiration — some for saving their lives.

“You saved my life today Uncle James!” writes a young Stefanie Dewhurst on Spann’s wall. “Me and the roomies were about to go to Milos then we turned on abc3340.”

Milo’s is a Tuscaloosa hamburger joint. That’s a photo of it now.

On a historic weather day, Spann and team showed how TV and social media, when combined, can amplify and personalize coverage like never before.

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