|WRAL.com Provides Hurricane Maps For Tracking|
WRAL-TV is once again using its website to provide the latest and best weather information in the Triangle. HurrTrak, produced in house, is a tool for viewers to keep up with the latest hurricane location and information.
Digital Media Programmer John Clark and Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel have taken the in the production of HurrTrak maps for WRAL.com. The online staff at WRAL.com updates the maps during the day as news alerts come in to the station. The meteorologists do updates after 7pm and on the weekends, another example of WRAL’s use of cross-training and teamwork to produce quality information for viewers.
Four maps are created for each storm, a forecast image, a wind band image that shows how far the tropical storm winds andhurricane winds extend out from the center of the storm, a wind field image that gives wind speed in all areas of the storm, and a watches and warnings map that shows where there are active watches and warnings.
WRAL online producers developed an automated process to download, timestamp and resize each image. The maps are uploaded to the sight to deliver to the viewers.
The HurrTrak maps debuted on WRAL.com several years ago. Although Internet Broadcasting System (IBS) now manages and runs the WRAL site, much information and specialization for WRAL viewers comes from the station itself.
“When we realized that we didn’t have the maps on our site, and there were three storms ‘on the radar screen’ so to speak, we decided we needed to step in and make it happen,” said Clark. “We needed to provide that valuable information to our visitors… In short, we felt that we were not providing our viewers with the best information we had available, and we decided to fix that.”