November 15, 2018, 02:57:56 AM

Author Topic: Tropical Update maps  (Read 5440 times)

Offline Eric

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Tropical Update maps
« on: August 14, 2010, 12:22:00 AM »
Back in the day, before all the maps on TWC were more or less standardized, there was greater variety in the maps used in programming.  One example of this was in the Tropical Update.

I'm talking specifically about the late 1980s-mid 1990s, when two types of maps were used: tracking maps that showed the weather icon of the tropical system, its track in yellow dots, and the NHC bulletin information superimposed; and a still satellite view with the tropical system circled (the rest of the satellite image being slightly dimmed) and the bulletin information superimposed in a somewhat jagged computerized-looking font.

I wasn't even a teenager back then, so, being so young, I had some very strong preferences.  I greatly preferred the tracking maps, since I found it fascinating to be able to look at the track of the storm and see its progression across the ocean.  I found the satellite-only presentation to be a bit "second-hand."  Not only did white text seem harder to read against the backdrop of white clouds, some of the weaker storms seemed so sorry-looking that one wondered why we were tracking them at all, but you were guaranteed to see an animated satellite view of the storm after the tracking map, anyway, so why start with a still image, dimmed, with text all over it?

For Atlantic storms, the satellite map was generally used only for unnamed tropical depressions and for dying storms, usually in the northeastern Atlantic graveyard.  Otherwise, the tracking map was almost exclusively used.  I remember one morning watching the "Good Morning Forecast" (or whatever it was called back in the early 1990s) with two tropical depressions in the eastern Atlantic, rather close to each other, so John Hope had the same still satellite image for both - first one storm was circled, and then the other.  Even though I wasn't a big fan of the satellite maps versus the tracking maps, I found this to be a rather interesting presentation.  However, there was one year (very rough guess would be either 1990 or 1993, or maybe a mix of the two) when even established storms were presented with the satellite maps only.  As a naive little guy, I even wrote TWC a letter asking what happened to my beloved tracking maps.  I just got a small card thanking me for writing, without ever actually getting a response to my question.

In the Eastern Pacific, the satellite maps were used 99% of the time.  It was truly an extremely rare occasion when a tracking map was used, and then, the storm had to be relatively powerful and about to make landfall in Mexico.

Thanks for allowing me to take this stroll down memory lane, and I'm sure there will be more. :)

Offline Mike

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Re: Tropical Update maps
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2010, 09:50:59 AM »
Below are screenshots of a tracking map, satellite and radar imagery used during tropical coverage in 1989 & 1992. Included are hurricane Hugo (Sept 1989) and hurricanes Andrew & Lester (Aug 1992).


Offline Eric

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Re: Tropical Update maps
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2010, 07:09:15 PM »
Wow - you're brilliant!  Excellent visual aids to go along with my story!

I loved the color scheme for infrared satellite views in the 1980s - soft, yet informative.  They changed them sometime in the early 1990s, and I was actually upset for a while, even trying to picture what the image would look like with the old colors. :)

And the radar... Marny Stanier even commented about the radars including county boundaries the first day that happened, and then when the three-letter labels were replaced with actual names... that was a big day! :)

Offline lionwxgirl10

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Re: Tropical Update maps
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2010, 12:58:38 PM »
Those were some incredible pics to go with the narrative! I absolutely loved the 1990s programming being that there was better music, maps, and radars. Now I will admit...I do like the 3D satellite thing they've been doing lately, but I loved their old maps for hurricane season. Those noodle diagram things don't seem accurate to me, and I wonder if I'm the only one who feels that way about them. The 1990s were the good ol' days though *sigh*.

Offline Star4000 Fan

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Re: Tropical Update maps
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2010, 07:03:38 PM »
I remember way back when the radars were "action radars" - for the time, that was interesting.
I like the dotted track, too.  Even the lins is okay, as long as there are dots.  Centers of cyclones do wobble - Earl did that in the Caribbean. 

I liked the wind field maps, too - orange was tropical storm force, red was hurricane force, and white was major hurricane force.

Offline Eric

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Re: Tropical Update maps
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2010, 07:49:11 PM »
I liked the wind field maps, too - orange was tropical storm force, red was hurricane force, and white was major hurricane force.

Now I'm embarrassed... even I forgot about those maps!  Yes, I liked them, too - informative and in a simple package. :)

Offline TWCToday

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Re: Tropical Update maps
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2010, 02:58:48 AM »
I liked the wind field maps, too - orange was tropical storm force, red was hurricane force, and white was major hurricane force.
I saw them use those with Earl. Very helpful and informative! :)

Offline Mike

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Re: Tropical Update maps
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2010, 09:45:57 AM »
The wind field map was and still is a useful feature. It is simple yet effective. I've provided a comparison of wind field maps from 1989 (Hugo) and the recent Earl hurricane. The color scheme is different though. Another map used in the tropical reports displayed the actual wind gusts (also pictured). It was a good representation of what the top winds were at various locations on a single map covering a broad region during each updated interval. It was kept simple, easy to read and didn't include other info that might have been distracting. Actually many of the maps, etc. used in the earlier days were like that.

Offline Eric

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Re: Tropical Update maps
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2010, 03:40:59 PM »
Thank you very much for sharing!

Personally, I prefer the maps from Hugo.  There's a simplicity to them that I enjoy.  Today's 3-D maps sometimes get confusing, with strange angles and other "bells and whistles" to show off the technology, while masking the actual information in the process.

Offline TWCToday

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Re: Tropical Update maps
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2010, 11:48:59 PM »
Thank you very much for sharing!

Personally, I prefer the maps from Hugo.  There's a simplicity to them that I enjoy.  Today's 3-D maps sometimes get confusing, with strange angles and other "bells and whistles" to show off the technology, while masking the actual information in the process.
yes thanks for posting these! :)

Offline Mike

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Re: Tropical Update maps
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2010, 09:18:32 AM »
Thanks everyone. Glad you like them!  :). Here's yet another .... from a global perspective.





Offline Star4000 Fan

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Re: Tropical Update maps
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2010, 02:30:48 AM »
^Ah, the global disk satellites.  Those were a rare treat.  I liked how they put them in every so often.

That wind gust map was cool, too.  They use those "HD frames" for numbers today - you can't fit nearly as much information as you could before.

....and the radars - I loved the three-letter identifiers.  I started to learn the cities by their codes.  Those three letters often have meanings/history to them.
CMH - Port Columbus Airport (Ohio) actually stands for Columbus Municipal Hangar.

Offline Lightning

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Re: Tropical Update maps
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2010, 11:36:11 PM »
The wind field map was and still is a useful feature. It is simple yet effective. I've provided a comparison of wind field maps from 1989 (Hugo) and the recent Earl hurricane. The color scheme is different though. Another map used in the tropical reports displayed the actual wind gusts (also pictured). It was a good representation of what the top winds were at various locations on a single map covering a broad region during each updated interval. It was kept simple, easy to read and didn't include other info that might have been distracting. Actually many of the maps, etc. used in the earlier days were like that.
It is interesting to see both the differences and the similarities of the graphics of both now and then.
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Re: Tropical Update maps
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2010, 08:05:05 PM »
The wind field map is certainly a very important reminder to the public that a hurricane is not just a point as people get too focused on the dot representing the center.  Even NHC has created a tropical wind field map similar to the one shown from Hugo except that it's just tropical storm winds in orange, hurricane winds in red, and the watches and warnings in various colors for every advisory.  I really liked the mid-90s tropical update maps on TWC, especially during 1995 with that crazy hurricane season.