"This is a tornado ripping through the city of Tupelo as we speak. And this could be deadly," he said in a video widely tweeted and broadcast on YouTube.
Moments later he added, "A damaging tornado. On the ground. Right now."
The video showed Laubhan peeking in from the side to see if he was still live on the air before yelling to staff off-camera to get down in the basement.
"Basement, now!" he yelled, before disappearing off camera himself.
“I tell people at home at that point, 'You gotta get to your safe place,'” Laubhan said later. “What kind of example are we setting if we don’t go?
“I knew that we had to send everybody, and hopefully that would tell people at home this was the instant where you have to go.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.