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Weather Center Receives Production System Upgrades

Staff Sgt. Annette Prato, a broadcast weather technician at the American Forces Network Weather Center at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., uses the center's new production system to create visuals for their Pacific weather forecast. The weather center produces 10 shows a day, each disseminated worldwide via satellite. (U.S. Air Force photo/G. A. Volb)
by G. A. Volb
Offutt AFB NB (AFNS) Aug 22, 2007
The American Forces Network Weather Center here received computer upgrades recently ensuring its world-wide products equal or surpass those of its civilian counterparts. The center received two major forecast production units, known as Weather Services International systems, in early August. The first forecasts using the new equipment, which totaled approximately $50,000, 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 improve production capability such as graphics, speed and overall creativity."

Sergeant Olds said the finished products sent daily to the American Forces Radio and Television Service Broadcast Center at 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," he said.

The weather center produces 10 shows a day, each disseminated worldwide 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 an extended three-day forecast with all the weather-related extras viewers are used to seeing.

For Airman Joe 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," she said.

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