17 Jan The Weather Channel uses virtual reality to preview Winter Storm Harper
With Winter Storm Harper fast approaching, the Weather Channel has broken out the immersive-mixed-reality machine again.
Combining real-life anchors with vivid, digital simulations, the compelling clips have been pitched as an educational tool that brings extreme weather events to life.
Some of us used to ignore weather advisories. Not anymore.
Like the “Beyond Scared Straight” of weather segments, IMR clips will have you looking at a forecast the way a mischievous 13-year-old looks at a tattooed convict named “Big Dragon.” IMR clips are certainly educational, but they’re more like digital doses of humility, reminding even the most plucky among us that we are no match for Mother Nature.
The latest dose captures the unpredictable fury of an ice storm, a dangerous weather phenomenon that occurs when warm air slams into a cold winter storm, melting snowflakes that don’t have time to refreeze before they hit the ground, according to the video. When they finally do reach Earth’s surface, where cold temperatures have settled, the water accumulates as ice, which is how the trouble begins, according to on-camera meteorologist Jim Cantore.
“Just a tenth of an inch makes roads and sidewalks extremely slippery,” he says in the video. “A quarter of an inch can break branches, and once you’re over half an inch, serious problems ensue.”
Among them: Ice missiles that plummet from cell towers, reaching 90 mph before crashing with 1,000 pounds of force; and power lines snapping under the weight of ice and falling trees.