New weather system at WOUB provides improved forecasting for the region and advanced training for college students
People in southeast Ohio and western West Virginia are getting more reliable and accurate weather information thanks to a technology upgrade at WOUB TV. Intelliweather is used by weather forecasters for WOUB’s NewsWatch TV broadcast and allows viewers to know what’s happening in their communities as the weather changes. WOUB Public Media General Manager Mark Brewer said the biggest feature of the system is the addition of Doppler Radar.
“This is the first time we have access to real time radar and storm tracking for the communities we serve – something they have come to expect when watching other local news broadcasts,” Brewer said. “Our new system includes live-scan tracking and prediction of storm paths which allows us to provide accurate information to the large service area we have.”
Intelliweather updates weather information as it changes, even during live broadcasts. This allows WOUB weather forecasters to deliver information more accurately than ever before. WOUB Lead Weather Forecaster Erin Ashley said this feature is extremely important during severe weather coverage.
“The maps show watches and warnings and not having to worry about updating those throughout the newscast is really nice,” Ashley said. “It's essential that we get all that information out as soon as it happens.”
Intelliweather is similar to weather systems used in commercial TV newsrooms. The system is user-friendly which allows forecasters, many of whom are studying broadcast meteorology, to focus on delivering important, sometimes lifesaving, weather information in a way viewers can easily understand.
“This system also opens opportunities for additional students to be involved with WOUB,” Brewer said. “A few semesters back, the geography department at Ohio University started a broadcast meteorology major. These students typically will minor in journalism and become the weather forecasters for WOUB’s Newswatch. Their coursework covers all the requirements that are approved by the American Meteorological Society, and their practical experience at WOUB prepares them for full-time weather positions at news stations across the country.”
Newswatch airs on WOUB HD (20.1/44.1) weeknights at 6:30 p.m., with weather segments taking place throughout the broadcast.
In addition to Intelliweathe, the Scalia Laboratory for Atmospheric Analysis also supports teaching and research in climatology, meteorology and forecasting. This lab maintains two weather stations, features Internet weather information systems, and supports a 24-hour weather hotline, 740-593-1717.