Amazon hires meteorologist a month after deadly Illinois warehouse tornado

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EDWARDSVILLE (KMOV.COM) – A month after a tornado ripped through an Amazon warehouse in Illinois, killing 6 people, the company is looking to add a meteorologist to its team.

According to a job posting on Amazon’s website, the position is for a “chief meteorologist” based in Goodyear, Arizona. The online listing says the meteorologist will be responsible for the daily forecast for thousands of Amazon locations around the world, and will also be responsible for alerting staff to severe weather conditions.

“Attempts to predict, as accurately as possible, the timing, severity and exact location of hazardous weather systems such as tornadoes, hurricanes, severe rainstorms and blizzards,” the message read.

Amazon did not tell News 4 Investigates whether it had a meteorologist on staff in December 2021 when the tornado hit Edwardsville, or whether the job posting was a reaction to the storm.

Instead of answers, an Amazon spokesperson asked where News 4 Investigates saw the post. For days, News 4 Investigates questioned Amazon about the position. The company declined to comment.

The position is new for lawyers representing the family of Austin McEwen, an Amazon contract worker who was killed while trying to take refuge in the warehouse. This week, the family sued Amazon, the property developers and the construction company for negligence.

“A chief meteorologist should have been in place from the day the first fulfillment center was built and it’s very surprising that a company the size of Amazon doesn’t have those resources in place,” the official said. McEwen’s lawyer, Jack Casciato, partner at Clifford. Law firms.

Amazon first published the post on Jan. 13 and posted a second chief meteorologist post on Wednesday. The first post has since been deleted, but both appeared a month after the tornado.

“Certainly when they acknowledge that six human lives were lost, a lawsuit has now been filed, it is clear that they are going back on things that they should have done,” Casciato said.

Amazon has never publicly mentioned having a weather forecaster on staff in the weeks following the storm.

News 4 Investigates has obtained a copy of Amazon’s Emergency Action Procedure for North America. The document lists emergency contacts, but there is no mention of a meteorologist. According to Amazon’s procedure, if there is a risk of a tornado, security personnel should check with the National Weather Service and local forecasts.

Two days after the tornado, Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel told News 4 that the company’s plan had worked.

“Whenever there is a circumstance there are ways to go back and look for ways to improve it, but in this case the team did what they are trained to do and the employees did what they were trained to do, they acted with a sense of urgency. It was a very fast and powerful tornado,” Nantel said in December.

Corporate meteorologists are not uncommon. Places like Walmart and Dunkin’ have been known to use them.

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