Russell Lewis

Russell Lewis is the Southern Bureau Chief for NPR News, a post he has held since 2006. Lewis focuses on the issues and news central to the Southeast — from Florida to Virginia to Texas, including West Virginia, Kentucky and Oklahoma. In addition to developing and expanding NPR's coverage of the region, Lewis assigns and edits stories from station-based reporters and freelancers alike, working closely with local correspondents and public radio stations. He also spent a year in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, coordinating NPR's coverage of the rebuilding effort. He's currently based in Birmingham, Alabama.

Lewis began his public radio career in 1992 at NPR member station WUFT in Gainesville, Florida, where he was an executive news producer. He spent time at WSVH in Savannah, Georgia. Lewis also worked for Kansas Public Radio and reported on the state legislature. He spent six years on the West Coast, working at one of public radio's flagship stations: KPBS in San Diego where he was senior editor and a reporter. He most recently was assistant news director and talk-show host at WGCU in Fort Myers, Florida. He was a frequent contributor to NPR, specializing in military and business issues.

In his spare time, Lewis loves to cook, read, and ride his bicycle.

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4:58pm

Tue March 13, 2012
Science

Tornado Tech: What If Dorothy Had A Smartphone?

Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 1:44 pm

This May 3, 1999, funnel became the F-5 storm that damaged thousands of buildings in central Okahoma. University of Oklahoma storm chasers and observers are anticipating the annual tornado season as it approaches the central part of the country.
J. Pat Carter AP

For many, the only way they learn a tornado is approaching are sirens. In the spring and summer, tornado sirens go off a lot more when twisters roar across Alabama, which has been hit by 900 since 2000, accounting for a quarter of all U.S. tornado deaths.

"I am still surprised that so many people rely on just one source of getting warned, and that has to change," said Jim Stefkovich, meteorologist in charge of the Birmingham office of the National Weather Service.

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4:00am

Tue March 13, 2012
Election 2012

In South, GOP Voters Balance Faith, Defeating Obama

Originally published on Tue March 13, 2012 10:23 am

Supporters and volunteers of the Alabama Republican Party gather outside before a forum at the Alabama Theater in Birmingham, Ala., on March 12.
Marvin Gentry Reuters /Landov

It's election day Tuesday — this time in the Deep South as voters in Alabama and Mississippi head to the polls. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney spent some time campaigning in the two states while Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich blanketed the region. And Santorum and Gingrich met at a forum Monday night in Birmingham in a last-minute effort to woo undecided voters.

The setting couldn't have been more picturesque: the stately Alabama Theater in downtown Birmingham. About 2,000 Republican faithful turned out for the presidential forum, which began with a prayer.

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