KBTX turns 60: Advancement in weather technology

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BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) From the first time that the 'on-air' light came to life in the KBTX studio 60 years ago, weather has been that part of the newscast that impacts every single person watching in the Brazos Valley.

While the faces have changed, the commitment to bringing the best forecast possible, using the newest technology, has not. In 1982, SkyScan3 was installed, Channel 3’s color radar. At the time, it was about to provide more accurate and in-depth weather information to the Brazos Valley. By the way, that radar still stands at the studio on East 29th Street.

Weather Watchers have always been a key part of the forecast as well. During the 1990 "Brazos Bottom" tornado, reports came to News 3 from the Galloways -- long time "Rain Watchers" in those years. That tornado occurred around 7pm in the evening and was captured by the News 3 crew covering the Texas A&M baseball game that evening.

From quite a bit of dust being kicked up by that 1990 tornado, to one touching down just a few miles away from KBTX, in Bryan's Wheeler Ridge subdivision in May 2016, the Brazos Valley has had a fair share of droughts, flooding, and many tropical storms and hurricanes.

Past KBTX Meteorologist Troy Kimmel was working here when Tropical Storm Amelia threatened the Upper Texas Coast and brought a forecast 1 to 3 inches of rain to the Brazos Valley. Back in those days, weather maps hung on the wall and were presented using a pointer. Kimmel mentioned the need for plenty of Windex and towels in the studio for the times that meteorologists drew on the weather maps live on air.

What started with hand drawn maps shot close-up with a black and white camera, turned to magnets on a board, which became maps on the wall and drawing with markers live on air. Since then, a technological change removed the color green from every meteorologist's wardrobe. A chromakey -- or green wall -- was installed. Computers have replaced the green with maps and graphics, which allows a better way to get the forecast across.

Advances in radar, weather forecasting, and the ability to send live weather video from an actual storm are helping viewers in the Brazos Valley understand the weather around them. Technology has evolved so much that your day can be planned around those inconvenient weather moments.

As new platforms for sharing information come around, KBTX and the PinPoint Weather Team are working to bring the weather forecast to you. Be it on-air, through Facebook Live or tweets, you are never far from knowing what the weather will bring to the Brazos Valley.