The Weather Tragedy That Almost Made Sam Champion Walk Away from His Career
Season 4 Episode 404
Aired on 08/10/2014
Even before he got into weather more than 30 years ago, the Weather Channel's Sam Champion knew he wanted to tell people's stories. From covering floods to fires, Sam has spent decades reporting on more than just the forecast. And then, in 2011, one weather event became a tragedy Sam would never forget.
On May 22, 2011, the city of Joplin, Missouri, was struck by a catastrophic tornado that killed 161 people and left thousands homeless. As the weatherman for Good Morning America
at the time, Sam's job was to be on the ground amid the devastation and to cover the tragedy.
Sam says that upon landing in Joplin, he felt a "terrible sickness" in his stomach. In the above video, he describes his raw emotions when thinking about the lives affected by the tornado, and reveals how the experience completely changed the way he views covering storms.
Later in his interview, Sam opens up about another painful experience: coming out to his father
, who at first responded, "I cannot support this lazy lifestyle choice."
More from this episode
More from Oprah: Where Are They Now?