Augmented reality storm surge demonstrates the dangers of floodwater

As Hurricane Florence barred down on the US, The Weather Channel leveraged The Future Group to show the dangers of rising water.

Using Immersive Mixed Reality, the segment garnered high praise for its potential to save lives and impressive use of photorealistic graphics.


How The Weather Channel made that insane storm surge animation

AT A CERTAIN point, you think you have a good grasp of what to expect from weather graphics. A color-coded map, a five-day forecast with a sassy cloud. Which might be why the Weather Channel’s 3-D, room-encompassing depiction of the Hurricane Florence storm surge took so many by surprise. It doesn’t tell, it shows, more bracingly than you’d think would be possible on a meteorological update. Here’s how they did it.

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The Weather Channel debuts a terrifying new viz for Hurricane Florence

Six feet of water. It doesn’t sound like much, in theory. Your feet might still touch the bottom of the pool. But in the hands of the Weather Channel, and its crazy new Immersive Mixed Reality graphics system, viewers are getting a glimpse at how terrifyingly destructive it really is. A wall of murky liquid surrounds the host, bobbing cars and–is that a kamado grill?–in its wake. Like a real-time rendered bar graph, it grows from three feet, to six, to nine.

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This terrifying graphic from The Weather Channel shows the power and danger of Hurricane Florence

A new video from The Weather Channel shows in real time the danger of flood waters already rising in parts of the Carolinas as Hurricane Florence starts battering the coast. The storm is moving slowly and is anticipated to bring deadly storm surges to the region as well as torrential rains. “That’s a recipe for a flooding disaster,” meteorologist Marshall Shepherd told The Verge in an interview on Monday.

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These Weather Channel graphics show how terrifying Hurricane Florence could become

It’s one thing to read about a hurricane or even see a photo or a video. It’s another to see its effects on the actual, real-life objects around a reporter.

The Weather Channel has been using mixed reality to great effect with its reporting on Hurricane Florence, showing how the water may rise and swallow buildings and cars in its path.

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Mixed Reality animation shows the dangers of hurricanes

We’re all used to seeing meteorologists standing in front of a green screen with those familiar, colored map graphics as they toss out numbers and statistics regarding the impending danger from natural disasters like Hurricane Florence. However, those numbers can be really hard to internalize, and if you’re in an at-risk area, just hearing stats and data make it a lot easier to ignore impending danger.

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Jakob Schindegger