ST. PETERSBURG TIMES/BAY NEWS 9 2008 HURRICANE GUIDE
When a hurricane threatens the Tampa Bay area, Bay News 9 is on the air with all the latest weather and news 24 hours a day, stepping up our coverage from the Tropical Update at 49 minutes past the hour to nonstop news and weather information. It's the job of our team of meteorologists to keep viewers and our newsroom updated with the latest information.
Hurricane bulletins are issued at 5 a.m., 11 a.m., 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. If a watch or warning is issued, an additional update is added between the main bulletins. You get the latest storm track and forecast cone as soon as we get it. That means you don't have to wait for the 11 o'clock news to get the information you need.
At Bay News 9, we track hurricanes with satellites, Pinpoint Doppler 9000 and our team of six meteorologists. There are at least two meteorologists on the air at every hour of the day and night, analyzing data and bringing you the latest information. When a hurricane is within 300 miles of Tampa Bay, Pinpoint Doppler 9000 can track the center of the storm live. We can also track the hurricane hunters on Live VIPIR and show you the real-time data from the aircraft.
Bay News 9 has one of the first dual-polarization weather radars in the country. These radars are the future in weather technology. Conventional radars send only a horizontal pulse. Dual-polarization radars send both horizontal and vertical pulses hundreds of times a second. This allows these radars to better see the size and shape of raindrops, hailstones and other types of severe weather. In hurricanes and tropical storms, this will improve the radar rainfall estimates. Not all raindrops are the same, and this plays an important role in pinpointing areas in danger of flooding. This radar is also a Doppler radar, so it can see the winds in real-time and uses the new antenna to provide extremely detailed radar data.
Hurricanes and heavy rain aren't our only threats. Tornadoes can hit Florida with winter-type storms and also be associated with hurricanes. Bay News 9 was the first station in the country to use the new Baron Tornado Index. This tornado predictor puts together real-time radar data and hourly computer model data for the first time. It generates a simple 1-10 scale, showing each thunderstorms potential to produce a tornado. A 1 is a very low risk and a 10 is an extremely high risk of a tornado. Bay News 9 meteorologists will use this and all of our other weather technology to monitor signs of severe weather.