Sunday, February 15, 2009

Behind the Scenes History in Storm Tracking


Street-Level Mapping By Baron Services, Inc.

Viewers of severe weather coverage across the country have become accustomed to seeing radar products such as circular shear markers, storm tracks, boxes with the storm ETA for small communities, street-level mapping, and many products that enhance weather broadcasting.

What many people do not know is that many of these products were conceived as a result of the difficulties encountered in warning for an F4 tornado in Huntsville, Alabama on November 15, 1989. Twenty three people lost their lives that fateful evening and well over 400 more were injured. There was no tornado warning in place and the storm caught many of its victims off guard.

Bob Baron was the on camera meteorologist for Huntsville, Alabama's NBC affiliate, WAFF Channel 48. In response to that tragedy he had a vision to improve the detection, dissemination, and response in severe weather coverage.

Here is a very interesting look at the history of products offered by Baron Products
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Let me include a little disclaimer and to digress a bit here. I am just doing this blog post for the sheer interest in the subject. I have no ties to Baron Services (although it would probably be pretty cool if I did). I did, in fact, have the opportunity to meet Mr. Baron 30 years ago. At the time he worked for WAAY Channel 31 and he spoke to my eighth grade class at Chapman Middle School in Huntsville. I remember he brought fax printouts with him that provided weather data and satellite images. He offered these to students after his presentation and I grabbed them up as if they were sheets of gold.

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