WFLD scores with weather coverage on Saturday

While the attention over the last few days has been on former WFLD anchor Mark Suppelsa joining WGN-TV, Fox-owned WFLD-TV has some good news: Its’ coverage of Saturday’s wild weather throughout the Chicago area drew good ratings (for a Saturday) and praise from viewers.

Tornadoes hit the south and southwest suburbs on Saturday evening, tearing a path from Wilmington to Lansing and Dyer and Schererville in Northwest Indiana. Damage was limited to the villages of Richton Park and University Park as well as Monee and the unincorporated townships of Will and Green Garden (areas yours truly knows very well from his days as a Meter Reader at ComEd.) Some northern suburbs (including Mundelein) also reported some tornado activity (click here to see one of the tornadoes crossing I-57.)

While other Chicago stations were drifting in and out of coverage, WFLD – and its sister station WPWR – went on the air at 6 p.m. and stayed on until 7:15 pm. with weatherperson Mark Strehl. The special report nabbed a 1.5 Nielsen rating on WFLD among adults 18-49 (tying for first) and a 1.7 rating among the 25-54 demo, finishing second. WPWR contributed a 0.6 rating in each demo. WFLD’s website also had heavy traffic on Saturday, with at least 2500 people viewing a live chat.

WFLD’s Strehl and chief meteorologist Amy Freeze received received e-mails of praise from numerous viewers, including this viewer from Chicago Heights – one of the suburbs affected by last Saturday’s tornadoes.

I tuned in for some of WFLD’s coverage (flipping back and forth from Star Trek) and the job the station’s weather department did was very solid.