WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

The bottom line: Keeping you safe from the storm

Posted March 6, 2009 12:05 p.m. EST

A screen capture of the latest release of iControl Interactive Doppler Radar with the new "DUALDoppler5000" tab highlighted.

As Severe Weather Awareness Week concludes, memories of past severe weather events I’ve covered at WRAL come flooding back to me. As meteorologists, all of us at WRAL share common goals. We want to give complete forecasts each day, but most importantly, we aim to give you the tools and information you need to stay safe during severe weather. That means getting you up-to-the minute updates on severe weather as it moves into our area.

When Storms Strike

As any storm system approaches, we use multiple computer models to assess what’s happening. We look for trends in the forecast, shifts in the path of a storm, and changes in intensity. We constantly monitor the radar.  When the National Weather Service issues a severe weather warning, we decide if we should break into programming to inform viewers of the impending conditions. We do our best to not interrupt programming unless we believe the weather is life-threatening. When we do break in, our goal is simple: to quickly inform you where the threatening weather is, who will feel an impact, and what the threat means to you.

At WRAL, we use our state of the art technology to enable us to make the best predictions possible. We use our exclusive DUALDoppler5000 and Fayetteville Doppler radars to show the storm, and we zoom into the area the storm is affecting or approaching. We are even able to zoom down to street level maps to show people where a tornado is located or where large hail is falling. (By the way, did you know you can drive the radar at home, too?  Use the new iControl feature on WRAL.com to take control of the radar display.  You can even zoom down to your back yard!)

What You're Telling Us

We know people count on us for the latest information and we appreciate your feedback on how we do:

Just wanted to email WRAL and Greg and tell them "Thank you" . My family and I live about 4 miles from Kenly off of Princeton-Kenly Road. The other night the storms woke us up, and I knew it was not good. My husband turned on the TV, and he said what channel? I immediately said turn it to WRAL- and there was Greg @ 2:45 telling what to expect for our area. I was so amazed that someone was even on at that time, and his prediction and information was so accurate. Thanks for always keeping the public informed. You do a great job.
— J. Wiggins, Kenly, NC

I moved to the area in July of 1988 and rented a house off Wake Forest Rd. The following November I remember laying in bed as the stormy weather kept me awake all that night, and I ended up turning on my TV and found WRAL covering that storm. A tornado warning had just flashed over the screen. I took refuge downstairs and that was the thing to do because, less than two miles away, a strong tornado was ripping apart a path through North Raleigh. It destroyed the now-closed K-Mart, crossed Six Forks Rd., and what I saw sent chills down my spine. I remember seeing the inside of a condo's kitchen...the exterior wall was ripped away. A neon sign had a 2X4 sticking out of it. The area where the tornado crossed the road looked like a bomb had exploded. This missed me by merely inches on the scale of mileage. Ever since this night, I have trusted WRAL's weather to alert me when danger is near, and their weather superiority only keeps getting better. WRAL...A name "WE" can trust for sure.
— B.Cameron, Raleigh, NC

I live in Bertie County and always watch WRAL for your news and especially weather. When my weather radio sounded off a little after 4:00 AM this morning for a Tornado Warning, I immediately turned on the TV which was already on WRAL from watching the 11:00 PM news. Sure enough you guys were on and although your primary coverage was for Halifax and Northampton Counties, which are in your coverage areas, I thank you for extending it into Bertie County. None of the local stations were covering the Warning, so as usual, I can depend on WRAL's Weather Center. Please don't leave Bertie out of any coverage for severe weather for my sake. I stayed with you until the Warning was over for my area, by that time some of the Norfolk stations were covering then.Thanks to Elizabeth, Greg, Mike Moss and all the others for this morning’s coverage.
— D. Highsmith, Bertie County, NC

Another service WRAL provides during severe weather is WRAL WeatherCall.  Now, even if you are asleep or don’t have your television on, we can warn you of an approaching, dangerous storm by calling you at home or on your cell phone.  We've had it running for a few months now, and we've already received some very kind words about the service:

Thank you for alerting our household to the tornado warning today at approx. 5:pm This is a very nice service and we really appreciate it. I am thankful that was no tornado, but we all took cover. Again Thanks for your great service.
— S. Pleasants

We live in the McGee's Crossroads community of Johnston County (NC 50 & NC 210) and have been WRAL viewers for years. My husband and I both work for the public school system and don't have TVs on during the day. In addition, my grandmother lives with us and sometimes she doesn't watch TV during the day. We've just signed up for WeatherCall. Thank you so much for this wonderful service. It's a way for all of us to be more alert and proactive, even when we're deep into our day and what we're doing. Please tell Greg that his test call is sufficiently cheerful! Thanks again!
— The Ausley Family, Benson, NC



Why We're Here

Forecasting is one of the toughest aspects of an on-air meteorologist’s job. We know you, our viewers, are counting on us to inform you. We accept this responsibility with a great deal of care and passion for what we do. A respect and passion for the weather is what made each of us interested in meteorology.  When I was a little girl, I remember being on vacation and watching storms pound the ocean in the distance. The next morning, I woke up and saw many of the hotels around the one where I was staying torn apart. A tornado had violently passed through overnight as I slept. The power of weather is endless and continues to intrigue me. Here at WRAL, we work hard to always be on top of severe weather and then afterward, we spend hours analyzing what happened.

Count on WRAL

With warmer months right around the corner, I’m excited about putting away the winter coat! But as warmer weather approaches, so does the threat of severe weather. Let’s make it a point to do everything we can to survive whatever Mother Nature throws our way. And remember, you can count on WRAL and WRAL.com for the latest information when severe weather strikes!