WTOC 65th Anniversary: History of hurricane technology

WTOC 65th Anniversary: History of hurricane technology

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - WTOC has been on TV for 65 years. Technology has changed in many ways, including how to detect when a hurricane is coming.

In the last 65 years, there have been several hurricanes that have impacted our area. From Gracie to Michael, technology has changed quite a bit. When Hurricane Gracie made landfall in 1959, there was no satellite or radar data available. This left very little time for people to prepare and react to the storm. It wasn’t until 1960 that satellites began being used to monitor the weather.

We were much more prepared for Hurricane David in 1979. By then, satellite imagery was available, which allowed us a good visual of the storm before making landfall just south of Savannah. Unfortunately, we still did not have use of a radar or reliable computer data.

The following year, WTOC got its very own Doppler Radar. Meteorologist Pat Prokop was hired to make sure our viewers understood the latest technology. Satellite and radar technology continued to improve and was very useful for storms like Gaston, Ernesto, and Jeanne.

Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Michael in 2018 had big impacts on our area from winds and storm surge. Newer satellites helped provide more accurate forecasts including storm surge data. Along with satellites, computers continued to evolve and get faster. Today’s super computers allow all the data collected to be processed quickly into hurricane computer models.

NOAA started issuing a three-day hurricane forecast in 1964. They expanded to a five-day forecast in 2003, and expect a seven-day forecast in the next few years.

As technology evolves, WTOC is committed to utilizing that technology to make sure we can continue to inform and protect the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry.

If you’d like to take a look back at the history of our station, click here.

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