Brian Shrader's Siteseeing Blog

Calling All Weather Geeks!

Posted April 24, 2007 12:03 p.m. EDT

I admit it.  I'm a lifelong weather geek. 

I get excited the Weather Service issues a severe thunderstorm watch.  I want to go storm chasing in Nebraska.  I stood in my front yard at the height of Hurricane Fran in 1996 -- I mean, how often do you get to experience weather like that?

I'm also a collector of old media -- another geeky, rareified hobby.  I grew up around here, so one of the great benefits of my job at WRAL is being able to look through the archives and see our old newscasts from 25 or 30 years ago. 

I clearly remember my great 1999 find here in the catacombs of our basement at WRAL-TV -- a big, bulky tape of the 1982 pilot of the (newly expanded) hour-long "Action News 5" with Charlie Gaddy, Bob DeBardelaben and Tom Suiter.  I was 3 years old at the time -- around the time I start pointing at weather maps and holding microphones in relative's faces (charming!).  I've always wanted to be in this business. I watch those old airchecks, maybe trying to find clues about what enchanted me about the magic of TV news.

What a digression to get to this: I found a piece of software the perfectly combines these two  obsessions!  It's the Weather STAR 4000 emulator!  Now, that should sound exciting to anyone -- the "Weather STAR 4000"!  

Anyway, some folks got together and wrote a program that will pull data from the National Weather Service and display it on your computer in vintage 1980s Weather Channel graphics!  It's all free, and it's just so cool

Once you download it, you may need some help setting it up (getting National Weather Service codes for your area and ASOS identifiers for airports).  Check out the site's technical support forum for more.  It's very easy to set up.

Let me know how you like your own home Weather Channel, circa 1988.

About this Blog:

WRAL's Brian Shrader blogs about cool video clips and other interesting Web sites. If you have any video you would like to share, please let us know.