Rick Sebak and a crew from Pittsburgh’s WQED-TV (13) are making their way across the United States on the old Lincoln Highway for an upcoming PBS documentary.

That took them right through the middle of the severe weather racking the Midwest, Sebak notes on his blog: “We’re exhausted, drenched, and happy to be safe and sound. And alive. Thunder roars, lightning flashes frequently and rain pours down outside my motel room window. Deep rumbles from the depths of the darkest clouds. Torrents of water falling on an already totally over-saturated and flooded land.”

“We say there’s a disaster a day on this trip,” he writes at one point, but also points out that the crew’s problems — broken windows on their truck, lack of Internet access — are “tiny” by comparison to the deaths from tornadoes in Nebraska and Iowa.

“It’s terrible and tragic and puts our delays and broken glass in perspective,” Sebak says. “Four boys, bright and invincible (I know they were, because I went to Boy Scout camp too), died at age 13. We’re bonded to them by the same bad storm sweeping eastward across Iowa. Their camp was only twenty-some miles west of where we were headed.

“Of course, we talk about them, try to imagine the terror and the agony of their parents and families. And we grieve too as strangers do when a significant trauma seems way too close and random and pointless.”

Lots more at the WQED-TV website. (Tip of the PBRTV propeller-head beanie to Brian Butko of the Heinz History Center.)