WATCH: Aerial view of ice storm from Chopper 7

Storm watch: Inside the National Weather Service

Inside the Forecast Office at the National Weather Service located in Shreveport, Louisiana.

While the robotic voice announcing emergency alerts over your NOAA weather radio sounds like it couldn’t be further from life, there are actually dozens of real people behind the message who are working to save lives.

I recently got a behind the scenes look at the National Weather Service (NWS) Forecast Office in Shreveport, Louisiana. Local TV meteorologists and other staff from six Ark-La-Tex television stations participated in a workshop to coordinate ways to better serve the public.

We toured their complex, located along the edge of the Shreveport Regional Airport grounds. Also housed on the property, a weather balloon launch and tracking station, as well as the Doppler radar site. In January the radar equipment will be upgraded to a dual polarization radar, providing greater ability to detect and measure hail and other meteorological objects. ‘Dual Pol’ also will bring enhanced resolution and allow meteorologists to more accurately determine where heavy rain is falling at that moment. It will be particularly useful during tornadic weather. Wind measurement will improve, helping identify if a tornado has touched the ground, as well as pick up tornado debris on radar returns. Continue reading

Day 45: Troy Dungan, the man behind the bowtie

“I wonder what they’re like in person?” We’ve all heard rumors and stories about what our favorite television personalities are like off-camera. Some can be primadonnas, others are consummate professionals. There are many tried and true, genuine people out there and WFAA’s Troy Dungan is one of them.

As I blogged earlier, I have been amazed at the family-like atmosphere at Channel 8. Troy is certainly the rock upon which those values are built. The chief “weatherman” has been welcomed into DFW’s homes each night for 31 years. Known for his trade mark bow ties and warm smile, it’s not hard to “Trust Troy.”

Continue reading

Day 26: Fighting the bite of West Nile in North Texas

Fridays can sometimes be fairly slow news days, but today must have been a fluke. Many of the reporters had scheduled vacation, which I assume is due to the upcoming 4th of July holiday.

Today I worked with government reporter Chris Heinbaugh, who was shifted to cover another reporter’s beat. Chris was assigned to the Fort Worth newsroom while those reporters were covering the ongoing flooding.

We headed out to Fort Worth, which was yet another reason I am still astonished by WFAA’s resources.  Between the Main Studios, Victory Park Studios, the Forth Worth newsroom, and the Collin County Bureau, Channel 8 is ready to cover news when and where it happens. Just like their Dallas newsroom, the Fort Worth team seems to operate in a close-knit work environment. Continue reading

Day 25: It’s all about perspective

It's all about perspective“Did you see that show the other night? The one where the guy was carrying a bunch of boxes and he kept getting tripped up by different things. He finally fell and everything went flying! That was so funny.”

How many times have you re-told a story that no one found interesting or funny? Sometimes things are only of interest if you were there. Many newsworthy stories are often served up in a “cookie cutter” or “plug and play” manner.

Just because it may seem like a run-of-the-mill story, doesn’t mean that reporters have to treat it as such. I’ve learned to dig for a different angle of a story. The reporter isn’t necessarily changing the story, simply finding a unique viewpoint to share.

It’s our job to find a way to bring the person to the story. These are the stories that people often remember. Continue reading