Knight Rider had KITT, Han Solo had the Millennium Falcon and now the WRAL-TV Weather team has their very own high-tech ride. The WRAL-TV Storm Tracker is an addition to the tools to help NC’s most trusted source for weather bring the latest forecast to viewers.
“We will use the WRAL Storm Tracker on days when we expect severe weather or a big weather event (strong storms, flooding, snow, etc…),” explained WRAL-TV Weather Executive Producer Aimee Wilmoth. “This will mainly be used by our meteorologists but will occasionally be used in a breaking news tracker capacity with a reporter.”
A news photographer will travel with the meteorologist or reporter in the WRAL Storm Tracker.
“If there is lightning nearby, we can’t go live from the outside the storm tracker, but can go live inside the vehicle,” explained Wilmoth.
The WRAL Storm Tracker is equipped with a GPS tracking device. The station will be able to see exactly where the truck is on a map through the Baron system in the weather center.
“This will be visually appealing as we can show the truck’s location on a map with radar,” said Wilmoth.
Features of the WRAL Storm Tracker include:
- The truck and the newsroom will get data connectivity through a LiveU. Data can be sent in both directions via a data only dish on the WRAL Storm Tracker.
- A large monitor in the back of the truck can show the output of WRAL’s weather radar and be controlled through a web interface. The monitor can slide out to be captured on camera.
- There are multiple cameras on the truck: a 360 camera on top, a dash camera and a talent camera.
WRAL-TV Technical Project Coordinator/Training Supervisor Tony Gupton picked up the truck from Frontline Communications in Clearwater, Florida, near Tampa, earlier last week.
“I flew down Monday morning and spent a few days going through every connection, component and system and returning to our studio on Wednesday,” he explained.
Stay tuned for WRAL Storm Tracker on WRAL-TV.
Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Tony Gupton, Aimee Wilmoth, Elizabeth Gardner & NMG’s Laura Worthington for these capcom photos.