HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — Former WAAY-TV meteorologist Brad Huffines may no longer be on the air alerting people to approaching storms, but he’s dedicated his life to helping get the word out not just in North Alabama but throughout the nation via WeatherCall Enterprise, a weather alert software system.
Huffines, who addressed a meeting of Madison City Schools administrators Wednesday during their three-day retreat at the HudsonAlpha building, said his “passion is saving lives. My absolute passion is public safety, not being a popular TV personality.”
The Oklahoma City native, who said he grew up terrified of storms, has been working with his former station, WAAY-TV (Channel 31), to help make North Alabama a safer place for children – especially when they are in school during severe weather events such as tornadoes, thunderstorms, flash floods and lightning.
WeatherCall is being offered free of charge to all school systems in the local station’s coverage area in North Alabama and southern Tennessee, said Huffines, compliments of WAAY and its sponsor, Virginia College.
“There will never be a charge to schools for WeatherCall,” said Huffines, during a school safety session led by Dennis James, coordinator of student services for Madison City Schools. “It will go into effect as soon as they sign up.”
School administrators interested in taking part should email Huffines at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Huffines, who also works with FEMA on weather preparedness issues, said some 400 schools, public and private, throughout 11 counties – including Huntsville, Madison and Madison County – across the WAAY TV coverage area are being offered the opportunity to sign up for the alerts.
The system calls up to three designated phone numbers to alert school administrators about impending storms that will only affect their respective schools, not countywide, said Huffines.
WeatherCall Enterprise is based in Parker, Colo., but Huffines still lives in Hazel Green. He spends much of his time speaking to civic groups, churches, schools, businesses and other venues about WeatherCall.
He said the system promises to deliver storm warnings when everything else fails, like what happened in North Alabama during the historic April 27, 2011 outbreak. Huffines said that was the “largest and most concentrated tornadoes in National Weather Service history.”