Little Rock, Arkansas -- TV weather forecaster and enthusiast Howey Carroll of Little Rock's KFUJ Channel 8 was fired yesterday for his unabashed, on-the-air celebration of the state's deadly tornado outbreak earlier this week.
Station Manager Billy Dean Buntman stated that "after numerous viewer complaints of (Howey's) 'jubilant demeanor' we were forced to spin him out of here."
Live KFUJ footage captured Howey high-fiving an anchor in celebration, while in the background a hook echo visible on the station's Doppler radar display indicated that the first of what would be multiple deadly tornadoes was touching down.
Mr. Carroll received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Oklahoma's Meteorolgy Department in 2002 where his classmates recall his "wild-eyed" insatiable love of tornado chasing.
"Howey skipped the Synoptic-Scale Vorticity final to drive 600 miles to catch the Pampa (Texas) tornado! The guy was outrageous", stated former classmate Lewey Whicker.
Former graduate Billy Curran spent many hours tornado chasing with Howey.
"He was the greatest. He knew no speed limits, no boundaries. Core plunging at 80mph while softball-sized hail shattered his windshield. He was absolutely insane, a legend...our hero."
Ironically, this very passion of "the ultimate rush", as Howey put it, was his downfall.
One local resident, Claude Drogmeister, who lost his aunt, grandmother and German Shepherd in the tornadic outbreak, found Howey's coverage inflammatory.
"As them storms was a comin', I seen Howey turning into some kinda cheerleader freak. He got real excited, hyper like. When those clouds darkened, you'd see him just willing them twisters to come down. Then when that first one struck and killed my aunt, I saw him doin' that hand-slappin' (high-fiving) thing with the anchor."
Mr. Carroll has issued a public apology. He also personally attended seven funerals of tornado victims, including 5 where mourners pelted him with hailstones saved from the week's wicked weather.
His plans? "To continue to chase my dreams!!"