Friday, April 30, 2010

Severe Weather Possible

I think it would be fair to say most people are on edge with this weekend's weather considering what happened last Saturday. Unfortunately, this won't be the best weekend to continue cleaning the storm-ravaged counties.

A strong cold front is slowly moving east, but it isn't in any hurry. While it is traveling east, plenty of gulf moisture is streaming out ahead of the front. All of this will destabilize the air over us. A series of low pressure disturbances will form along this front and ride across our area. It could rain over the same areas throughout the weekend, thus causing periods of heavy rain and flash flooding. Some computer models are forecasting 3-6 inches of rain between today and Monday!

All modes of severe weather will be possible today and Saturday. The area that could have the greatest risk for tornadoes, large hail and straight line winds is the Mississippi Delta--one of the hardest hit areas last weekend. Here is the NWS's graphical depiction of the forecast. Find your county to see what you can expect.
Most of the rain will begin to form after 2pm today. Please have your NOAA weather radio on throughout the weekend and keep your television tuned to WLBT.

Barbie is scheduled to be signing books at Ballyhoo in Mendenhall, Saturday from 11am-1pm. She will be in Ridgeland at the BookShelf from 2pm-3:30pm. All of this is subject to change pending the severe weather. There are currently less than 150 copies of her book left.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Reflections From Saturday

A flood of emotions have overwhelmed me over the last few days and I took Monday off. As I covered Saturday's tornadic weather with our weekend meteorologist Eric Law, I had hoped the day wouldn't be as I had been predicting all week.

Eric and I went wall-to-wall with our weather coverage shortly after 11am Saturday and didn't stop until 7pm. There is a disturbing feeling I cannot explain when you see a massive tornado signature on the radar, knowing the death and destruction it is about to bring, and trying to warn the public to take cover and not wait! Besides literally screaming at the camera lens, my hands are tied and there comes a point when I feel like I can't save everybody. Well, I felt like that Saturday.

The National Weather Service has surveyed most of the damage and found where the strongest tornado was an EF4 tornado, packing 170 mile per hour sustained winds. Other "smaller" tornadoes were classified as EF3 tornadoes with 150-165 mile per hour sustained winds. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency has calculated 752 homes and 189 mobile homes damaged or destroyed. The estimated damage costs is $50 million for those homes and businesses that have been lost. The long track tornado went 149 miles! For Mississippi, that is staggering as we don't see many long track tornadoes (those are mostly in Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma events).

Butch Smith sent me this picture of the tornado just outside of Yazoo City. This is by far the best picture of the tornado that I've seen.
So why has this upset me so? Well, because I see this destruction from a different perspective than most meteorologists and news reporters---I've been there before. In looking at the video Saturday afternoon when our crews returned to the newsroom, I saw the shock, utter disbelief and confusion the tornado victims had on their face and I remembered those emotions very well. As I was talking about the aftermath on WLBT, I began to crack. I remembered looking at my damaged house in 2001 (F4 Madison tornado), seeing my obliterated subdivision and my zombied neighbors and wondered, what do I do next? Where do I go? Where do I even start?

Then I started hearing of the deaths from Saturday, 3 of which were children. Did they not know the tornado was coming? Where they not watching tv? If they were watching me at the time, was I not urgent enough in my voice? Was there something else I could have said that would have convinced them that this was serious? I just don't know.

But I do know that there will be more tornadoes and there will likely be more deaths. Take the weather seriously and heed the warnings. Have a NOAA Weather Radio. Although there are some instances when we predict tornadic events and nothing this extreme happens, it just takes one episode like this to make a believer out of you.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Severe Weather Update

As I have been telling you all week on WLBT, our weather is expected to go downhill as early as late this afternoon for some. The worst case scenario is strong, long track tornadoes, destructive straight-line winds, flash flooding, and large hail (golf ball sized and larger).

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma has put much of the state under a "moderate risk" for severe weather. I can't even begin to tell you when the last time was that we were put under a moderate risk.

Scattered severe storms will begin to form after 4pm today for areas west of I-55. Any of these storms will have the capability of producing quarter sized hail to golf ball sized hail and tornadoes. Damaging winds could also accompany these supercell storms. Later this evening, we are expecting a brief lull in the action. After 4am Saturday, a more intense event will be developing. Numerous storms will form across the state with all modes of severe weather possible. These storms could form over the same areas which would accelerate the flash flooding potential. The greatest threat of these severe storms and tornadic weather is between 6am and 4pm. After 4pm, the bulk of the activity will shift into east Mississippi and western Alabama. Here is a graphical depiction from the NWS.

The WLBT viewing area has not experienced a severe weather event like this is quite some time. Please be proactive in having a NOAA Weather Radio, staying indoors and keeping it tuned to WLBT. Make sure you and your family knows where to go in the event that a tornado warning is issued for your county.

Many outdoor events scheduled for tonight and Saturday have been rescheduled. I have decided to reschedule my book signings scheduled for Saturday in Kosciusko and Greenville. I just don't want to risk anyone's life and I will be working inside the WLBT Weather Lab keeping our viewers informed.

As I have updated weather information, I will be glad to post it here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Super Mom? Really?

I don't normally blog on Wednesdays, but I thought I'd pass thing along.

At my Greenwood book signing earlier this month, I met a sweet lady by the name of Robin O'Bryant. We found that we have several things in common, including trying to raise three children. She shared with me that she is a fellow blogger and asked if she could send me some questions to ask so she could feature my answers on her "guest blogger" section. I agreed and she recently sent me the link to share with my readers. And while I don't agree with her title, I was relieved to know I'm not the only one trying to keep all of the balls in the air!

On Friday, I'll be sharing my thoughts about this weekend's severe weather potential.

Monday, April 19, 2010

What Is Your Motivation?

We have recently added another milestone to the Bassett household--potty training! Yes, it's hard to believe but we are potty training the baby of the family. One thing I learned from my other two children: you must have some sort of motivation for going to the potty. For adults, we are motivated just by the simple thought of waiting too late and having an accident in public! And for us, that possible embarrassment is enough to go immediately when you feel the need. But for my children, they all needed a child-sized motivation. With Gracie, I used candy. With Will, I used toy cars and tractors as a reward. With Lilly Faith, her motivation for going to the potty is the ever-satisfying...... M&Ms! La-La knows when she is successful, she will get 4 "M's". She is one happy camper with her chocolate treat.

Paul told the Christians in Corinthians they needed to check their motives daily. By testing, they would be able to tell whether or not they were true believers or false believers. What determined this? How they handled the tests and trials that would come their way. 2 Corinthians 13:5 says, "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test?" The Message translation puts it this way, "Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don't drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it."

Paul is saying this "test" is an internal test. Each of us must inspect our own heart to see what motivates our personal behavior and no one else can evaluate the results. Do you act the way you do to get ahead in the business world, to be a people pleaser or to get what you want from other people?

Those who discover they are motivated by Christ living inside of them are true believers. Those who find they are motivated by their own selfish desires are false believers.

What is your "firsthand evidence" that Jesus Christ lives in you?

Friday, April 16, 2010

How To Deal With Criticism

I am continually mystified why people feel the need to criticize. Call it 'positive criticism' if you want, but there is nothing positive about picking people apart. I've had my share of it this week and it seems to have increased since my book came out. Coincidence? I think not. I believe Satan is working over time at keeping me upset about the outright hateful and mean-spirited emails and letters I am getting on a daily basis. I know I'm not alone as you have probably had your share of attacks this week, too, just perhaps in a different way.

I was quickly reminded of Romans 12:19, "Do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for God. For it is written: Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay, says the Lord." The Message puts this verse in an even simpler way, "Discover beauty in everyone. If you've got it in you, get along with everybody. Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. 'I'll do the judging,' says God. 'I'll take care of it.'"

There are times when we need to let God settle the score. So if we can leave room for God's wrath, can we not leave room for His power, His grace and His intervention? The Lord takes delight in doing the impossible. We must pray, trust and wait on him to work in whatever situation we are facing. Psalm 37:7-8 says, "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him...Do not fret, it only causes harm."

I cannot make everybody happy, fix every problem or avoid the barbs viewers throw at me, but I can "leave room for God" to work in my life and the lives of those who enjoy being negative. God says what He means and means what He says!

Barbie will be signing at Borders (Dogwood Festival in Flowood), Saturday from Noon-2pm. She will also be the guest speaker at Star Baptist Church's Ladies Night Out dinner Saturday night.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Trip to Southwest Mississippi

I had a blast traveling to First Baptist Bude Saturday morning for their ladies brunch! Those ladies were fired up and ready for whatever the Lord was going to show them. I love events like that!

My publicist Nancy and I then hopped back on the road and drove to the beautiful city of Natchez to do a signing at Turning Pages bookstore. I love their downtown; so picturesque and bustling with activity.

When I'm in Natchez, a few of my "friends" always drop by. One of those people is Gayle. Gayle had a trampoline accident when she was a teenager and has been in a wheelchair ever since. She's a WLBT fan, the prettiest thing and we share a love for bling (that's rhinestones, if you didn't already know). My sweet friend Nicholas showed up, too. Nic is 6 years old--the same age as my Gracie. He was born with many challenges, but his mother tells me he just laughs when he sees me on television every night. Here are a few pictures from our Natchez trip.

When I got back from Natchez, I received this email:
"It was so good to finally meet you at your book signing in Natchez! Let me begin by saying you are TINY and absolutely beautiful. Your ability to connect with people and let your faith shine through make you all the more beautiful. My husband was google-eyed the rest of the day. There is no way you could know the personal struggle we are going through. Our son was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome last year (a high-functioning form of autism). Without going into long detail, it has affected every area of our lives and been a daily challenge to deal with. When we left the book signing and got back to our truck, we opened our book and saw you'd written "He is faithful, even through the storm" and both of us couldn't stop the tears. God speaks in a loud voice at times to remind us He is in control of every situation, doesn't He?"
Many people are going through storms in their lives right now. Take a moment and say a prayer for this book reader. God knows her name and her need.

Friday, April 9, 2010

New Level, New Devil

After a whirlwind of book signings and interviews over the last 2 weeks, it has been neat getting the feedback from those who bought the book. Many are saying how they are reading the book again because they felt like they really needed to get what God was saying to them. Some have written and told me how it has changed their life and their perspective on their own personal storms. If you have read the book and you were blessed by it or felt God speak to you, He did it--not me.

Have you ever felt like you were on cloud nine because of a spiritual experience? Some people refer to them as "mountain top experiences". You know what I mean. You feel so close to the Lord; He's answered your prayers in ways you could not have imagined and He is revealing many things to you. Then not long afterwards, Satan rears his ugly head. Whether he gets your day off to a bad start, gets you stressed out and worried about something, or perhaps he causes conflict between you and someone else, the devil will stop at nothing to steal your joy. Although I am seeing God move through this book, it seems as if Satan is sending little devils my way daily to try and knock the wind out of my sail. The same thing happened to Jehoshaphat.

In 2 Chronicles 19, we read of the wonderful revival Jehoshaphat had been a part of in Jerusalem. The Bible says he turned his people's hearts "back to the Lord". Jehoshaphat was on a spiritual high. He even told his people to "act with courage, and may the Lord be with those who do well." (verse 11). But just as he was enjoying being close to God, the devil just couldn't stand it. Satan sent someone to give Jehoshaphat the bad news in 2 Chronicles 20:2, "A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Sea. It is already in Hazazon Tamar." Jehoshaphat's joy turned to fear. Not only was a great army coming to take his kingdom away, but he found out he was surrounded by them!

He declared a fast in the land so the people could seek God's will. Then we read where Jahaziel stood and gave one of the best sermons, I think, in the Bible. Jahaziel tells the people in verse 15, "Do not be afraid or discouraged..for the battle is not yours, but God's." He goes on to tell the people in verse 17, "You will not have to fight this battle...stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you. The Lord will be with you." But here is the best part: the Lord set ambushes against the people who were coming against King Jehoshaphat and they ended up destroying themselves. They helped destroy one another! (verse 22-23)

Don't you see, when you and I are riding high in the Spirit of the Lord and enjoying His peace, Satan will use anything, anybody and any circumstance to try and knock us down. But what he ends up doing is destroying himself in the process and all those principalities he uses. When God takes you to a new level, expect a new devil to follow behind.

So as you go throughout your weekend, just remember: new levels, new devils!

Barbie will be signing her book at the First Baptist Bude ladies brunch Saturday morning and at Turning Pages bookstore in Natchez from 1pm-3pm.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Barbie is away today doing radio and television interviews on her book. Join her today (Monday) at Lemuria in Jackson, from 4:30pm-5:30pm! She will continue blogging this Friday.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Sitting At Easter

Yesterday, I had the privilege of traveling to McComb for a book signing at Edgewood Interiors. People were waiting on me when I walked in the door! I was ushered to a spot where there was a desk for me to sign my books and a nice chair to sit in. I preferred not to sit as it was more fun to stand up and visit with everyone!

We sit when we are tired. We sit when we are finished with something. Other times, we sit when we are waiting.

When I was reading the story of Jesus' resurrection, I noticed something I'd not seen before. When Jesus conquered the grave, there was some sittin' going on. Matthew 28:2 says, "And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it." It was as if the angel was saying, "God has done His part so I'm just gonna sit here on this stone and rest in His goodness."

Most of the time when you sit down, you are being still. For some of us, that isn't easy, especially when you're the kind of person who is accustomed to 'doing' all of the time. When problems arise and trials come you're way, sitting and resting in the peace of God is hard to do.

A verse that comes to mind is Exodus 14:14 when Moses told the children of Israel, "The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest." And that's exactly what the angel did that Easter morning. The angel had witnessed Jesus' death, burial and resurrection. There was no need to flutter about or worry what was to come next. The angel knew it was time to sit and let God play out His perfect will.

So the next time the devil tries to get you to worry, fret, and wonder what to do next about a problem, just sit and rest in the Lord. Let Him handle what is to come and enjoy the peace that only He can bring to your heart. Let Him work out your situation.

Easter isn't just about Jesus' resurrection; it's about the rest we have in knowing He will take care of His own, no matter what. So this Easter weekend, sit and rest in the Lord. Happy Easter!

(Barbie will be signing her books Saturday in Yazoo City at Essco's from 10am-Noon and at Turnrow Books in Greenwood from 2pm-4pm.)