Weather Channel realistic CGI gives grim Hurricane Florence forecast

Sep 14, 2018

With ominous warnings, Hurricane Florence made landfall in Wrightsville Beach on the morning of Sept. 14.

At that time, Hurricane Florence was a Category 1 storm, and weather stations predicted “catastrophic flash flooding.” It was anticipated that some urban areas could be inundated with as little as 3 feet of water, with some areas being submerged by as much as 9 or even 13 feet of water.

In order to give viewers a sense of what the catastrophe could look like, The Weather Channel raised the bar in the use of green-screen weather demos, making use of unsettlingly realistic CGI. While donning storm gear instead of a suit, their meteorologist points to areas of Newport as the sound of wind howls eerily over him, before we zoom out from the chart and see he’s not actually in the studio at all. Or so it seems.

We get a frightful sense of what 3 feet, 6 feet, and a grim 9 feet would look like standing in the front yard of our suburban home. We see a cross section of the water level while looking through an aquarium plexiglass window, with cars literally heaved up over our heads, our home half-submerged in turbid waters:

There were people in New Bern awaiting rescue in their homes after being left stranded by the flooding, while Hurricane Florence promised days more of catastrophic destruction ahead.

The National Weather Service’s Chris Wamsley told CNN that the amount of rainfall could be similar to Hurricane Dennis and Floyd in 1999, but added, “The only difference is, back then it was within 14 days,” he said. With Florence, “we’re looking at the same amount of rainfall in three days.”


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