AFNWC upgrades world-wide forecast products

  • Published
  • By G. A. Volb
  • AFWA Public Affairs
The American Forces Network Weather Center here received computer upgrades recently ensuring its world-wide products equal or surpasses that of their civilian counterparts.

The center received two major forecast production units in early August totaling approximately $50,000 -- better known as Weather Services International systems. Initially sought some five years ago, the first forecasts using the new equipment were delivered by the eight-member AFNWC team Aug. 10.

"They're the same systems used by local weather stations and The Weather Channel," said Tech. Sgt. David Olds, NCO in charge of AFNWC. "They decrease the amount of time needed to create a show, and significantly improves production capability - such as graphics, speed and overall creativity."

Olds said the finished products sent daily to March Air Reserve Base, Calif., have improved dramatically. "The speed of the systems enables us to digitize shows at a higher quality for a crisper, cleaner look with better animation."

The weather center produces 10 shows a day, each disseminated world wide via satellite. Customers include the Department of Defense, Department of State, and other users such as the Pentagon Channel - though not for operational purposes. All told, some 14-million viewers tune in to the center's forecasts at some point to use them in their daily activities.

Seven of the shows include local weather for the current and following day, and three shows include extended three-day forecast with all the weather-related extras viewers are used to seeing.

For Airman Joe "Noodle" Newlon, however, it's all about the ease of use. "They make things run a lot smoother, reducing stress," the broadcast weather technician from Keokuk, Iowa said. "They're just a lot more enjoyable to use."

Staff Sgt. Nathalie Chasse, a broadcast weather technician from Frenchville, Maine, agreed. "We have more time to be creative since the old systems would crash on a regular basis."