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Evolution of weathermen

READ MORE: Evolution of weathermen
The title of "weatherman" has changed a lot through the years. In the early days of television, a weathercast was simply a recitation of the National Weather Bureau forecast, often read by a person with little or no meteorological training. But from the late 60's through the early 80's, high profile events changed the public's view of weathercasters. 1969's Hurricane Camille marked the first time that satellite imagery was a viable tool. The super outbreak of tornadoes in 1974 led to improvements in the national warning network. On March 28, 1984, severe weather hit home as a powerful storm system spawned 22 tornadoes in the Carolinas. Renowned tornado expert Theodore Fujita's analysis of the outbreak lead to a better understanding of severe weather. His research was also timely- the NEXRAD Doppler Radar Network went online just a few years later in 1988, giving broadcasters a powerful new tool. Weathercasts were becoming more than just entertainment, and viewers took notice. News directors began hiring degreed meteorologists in greater numbers. One of the top programs is right in our own backyard, at North Carolina State University. Here, meteorologists complete a rigorous study of physics and calculus, allowing them to properly interpret forecast models. But the science is only part of the equation. Today, viewers demand high quality graphics to visualize the forecast. Meteorologists train on special rendering computers for hundreds of hours each year. With increased capability, comes increased responsibility. Government officials plan life or death evacuation based on forecasts, and sometimes even that isn't enough. Despite accurate forecasts for hurricane Katrina, the relief effort was a logistical nightmare, leading to policy changes on a national level. Housing patterns were affected, as some displaced residents vowed never to return. Which serves to remind us; we can predict the weather, but we can't stop it.

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