The Weather Channel is rolling out five new Storm Stories episodes during its "Tornado Week" stunt, Feb. 22-26.
Debuting at 8 p.m., all five programs focus on tornadoes that have taken their toll on cities across America in recent years, including four events in 2008. A total of 26 new episodes is being produced in HD for the network by NBCU's Peacock Productions (Mystery of the Crystal Skulls, Disappeared), and the show's return has been cross-promoted on NBCU properties. Storm Stories and other features during "Tornado Week" will also be supported with online content.
Renowned storm tracker Jim Cantore returns as host to tell the stories of survivors and rescuers battling amazing weather. The Weather Channel also will afford viewers a chance to become part of the next season of the series by sharing their own harrowing weather experiences online at www.weather.com/tv.
Following the premiere week, Storm Stories, which debuted in January 2003, will move to a new time slot, Sundays at 8 p.m., with several encore presentations scheduled during the following weekend.
The tornado-themed Storm Stories beginning Feb. 22 are scheduled as follows:
*"Windsor, Co.": On May 22, 2008, a large tornado hits several northern Colorado towns and destroyed dozens of homes, flipped trailers and rail cars, and killed one person;
*Parkersburg, Ia.": Three days later, a tornado about a mile wide hits Parkersburg and surrounding towns in Iowa, killing seven people, injuring 67 others and virtually demolishing the southern half of the town.;
* "Greensburg, Ks.": On May 4, 2007, a tornado directly hit Greensburg, killing 11 of its 1,600 residents and leaving 95 percent of the town homeless;
* "Super Tuesday": On Feb. 5, 2008, tornadoes roared through three states, killing at least 23 people and injuring nearly 100.
* "Boy Scout": On June 11, 2008, a tornado hit the grounds of the Little Sioux Scout Ranch in western Iowa, where more than 100 Boy Scouts gathered for a leadership conference. Four were killed, with 40 other sustaining injuries.
In addition, The Weather Channel will also bow two other full-length programs during Tornado Week. Scheduled for Feb. 23 at 9 p.m., Tornado! is the ultimate program about tornadoes produced in HD. Narrated by Al Roker, weather and features reporter for NBC's Today, the one-hour special, produced by Peacock Productions, will feature accounts from survivors, experts and storm chasers and use 3-D graphics to go inside the vortex of tornadoes to reveal what they are, how they form and all the dangers that accompany the storms. Five of the most terrifying tornadoes ever will be featured -- the most damaging tornado, the biggest outbreak in the shortest time, the fastest, the widest and the deadliest.
The program will culminate with a scenario that combines the most frightening elements of each tornado to show the catastrophic "what-if" results. In this scenario, Atlanta will be the place where all these factors converge.
The next night at 9 p.m., The Weather Channel will present Storm Session - Nature's Fury, a comprehensive overview of tornadoes hosted by Cantore, who will be joined by other network on-air personalities, including severe weather expert Dr. Gregory Forbes.
Encore presentations of many tornado-focused long-form programs will also be presented during the week.
"The popularity of Storm Stories is driven by our fascination with the impact that powerful weather can have on people's lives," said Janet Johnson, vice president, long-form programming and planning, The Weather Channel, in a statement. "Severe weather can bring out the best in people. Now we are turning to our viewers and asking them to tell their own stories, one of which could become an episode during our next season."
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