The Planet

The Weather Channel’s new graphics put you in the center of Hurricane Florence and it’s pretty terrifying.

by Tod Perry

September 14, 2018

As Hurricane Florence pummels the Carolinas with 90 mile-per-hour winds and heavy rains, the vast majority of us can only experience the power of this catastrophic event through television. 

We know the winds are high by seeing a CNN reporter get his clothes tousled. We know the rains are hard by seeing it slam in the growing puddles of water, but that’s as close as we can get.

But The Weather Channel’s (TWC) new graphics give viewers a terrifying view of what it feels like to be in the center of a hurricane. 

Just in time for hurricane season, TWC finished its “green screen immersive studio” at its Atlanta headquarters this week. The result is an incredible 3-D graphics generator that completely emmerses its anchors in the weather event. 

The channel’s Hurricane Florence graphics give viewers a street-side view of what it feels like to be on the average neighborhood as the waters begin to rise.

The graphics are so detailed, the murky waters are filled with fish and the type of debris one would likely find in the water during a hurricane. The graphics are accompanied by realistic sound effects for further emersion. 

The new graphics engine can create weather scenarios in near real-time.  

“All the graphic elements are loaded up into the system. Then each one of the scenarios is called upon by the data from the National Hurricane Center (NHC), so the map that’s displayed is live and in real time. And that’s informing what the environment’s going to be,” Michael Potts, TWC’s vice president of design, told Wired. “The operator has a tool that lets him choose the right scenario.”

The clip above only took 90 minutes to create after TWC received data from the NHC.

“We can control any number of scenarios, from how high the water needs to be, the wave height, the speed of the waves on top, and then the rain density and the clouds, how dark and overcast it’s going to be,” Potts said. “The entire goal is to try to paint and recreate a reality that’s in the future. This is what to expect. This is really honestly what it could look like if you looked out your window and weren’t prepared.”

 

Share image by VSON8/YouTube

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The Weather Channel’s new graphics put you in the center of Hurricane Florence and it’s pretty terrifying.