How Dan Rather taught us how to see hurricanes.

This isn’t new research, but a look back at some technological history most of us might not know. The Atlantic reminds us how a young Dan Rather put the first radar images of hurricanes on the news – and saved lives:

A young reporter, native to Texas but new to TV, had a hunch that the storm would be big. But he wasn’t sure how to prove it. So the reporter turned to technology: He took a camera crew to the U.S. Weather Bureau (now the National Weather Service) office in downtown Galveston, which featured a cutting-edge WSR-57 radar console. Seeing the size of the coming storm, he convinced the bureau staff to let him broadcast, live, from the office. And he asked a Weather Bureau meteorologist to draw him a rough outline of the Gulf of Mexico on a transparent sheet of plastic; during the broadcast, he held that drawing over the computer’s black-and-white radar display to give his audience a sense both of Carla’s size and of the location of the storm’s eye. As CBS plugged into the broadcast, that audience suddenly became a national one.

With that, Dan Rather “literally changed the way the world sees hurricanes,” a fellow Texas TV reporter put it earlier this year.

The spectral images of the hurricane Rather broadcast that day helped convince an estimated 350,000 people to evacuate their homes — a move that at the time was considered the biggest weather-related evacuation in American history. And while Carla was more intense than the 1900 storm that killed an estimated 6,000 people in Galveston — still the deadliest natural disaster on record in the U.S. — only 46 people died at its hands.

Video at the link.

[via Mr. Butgereit]

And with this, we are back in service. Sorry for the interruption.