Weather graphics: The ultimate guide

By The Weather Company

What are weather graphics?

Weather graphics are an essential component of helping forecasters communicate to viewers what’s happening next. These visual tools provide a clear way to communicate local, state-wide, or even nation-wide forecasts.

Weather graphics can vary greatly and employ different features such as heat, rain, snow, or sun symbols to better illustrate a given forecast. They can also be used in television and mobile or combined with other data sets such as traffic to provide more value to users. By using this feature, you can provide a robust visual representation of the weather that keeps users educated and engaged.

How do weather graphics work?

Weather graphics are first and foremost informed by data. Typically, a computer processing system combines data from available tools such as weather radar into a graphical interface that forecasters then use to analyze the data. From there, users prepare and issue weather forecasts, watches, severe weather warnings and more.

Additionally, weather graphics can be used to tell or complement a story. Oftentimes, meteorologists piece together their story well before it makes it to air, and during this time, meteorologists select the TV weather graphics that best help tell that story. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect meteorologists to increasingly use 3D elements and other intriguing graphics to distinguish themselves from competitors, keep users engaged, and drive loyalty.

Using weather graphics in television

TV weather graphics use accurate and near-real-time data to create a visual presentation of the weather forecast. These graphics allow meteorologists to tell a compelling story around the weather to help viewers understand the impact it might have on traffic or the weekend. These visuals can also help prepare viewers for heavy precipitation or severe weather.

Breaking down the basics of weather graphics

A good weather graphic is defined by how easily it can be interpreted. If viewers don’t resonate with your weather forecast, they may turn to a different station. That’s why it’s so important to use weather graphics that are not only engaging, but easy to understand by your audience. To break it down, a graphical weather forecast should:

  • Convey the information in a consumable, aesthetically pleasing manner.
  • Help the meteorologist tell their story.
  • Support the forecast with helpful information.
  • Break down the forecast in the quickest and most effective way.

The different types of weather graphics

There are many ways to use weather graphics. Let’s look at the different types of graphics you can use.

1. General weather graphics

General TV weather graphics are often used to convey general forecast information to viewers, whether on a local, state or national level.

2. Chance of precipitation  

These graphics help forecasters show rain, snow, sleet, or hail.

3. Temperature

Forecasters can show the temperature, whether on a local, state, or national level.

4. Wind speed and direction

These visuals help depict the wind speed and direction, whether on a local, state, or national level.

5. Amount of precipitation

In addition to the type and chances of precipitation, weather graphics can show the amount that might be coming to a particular area.

6. Sky cover

These graphics are typically helpful for airlines and others looking for an overview of flying conditions.

7. Severe weather forecasts

These visuals are used to report on forecasts that are severe in nature.

Graphical weather forecast technology

As mentioned, weather graphics have come a long way since their inception and have become increasingly advanced. Now, meteorologists can incorporate intriguing new elements into their broadcasts like the following.

1. Augmented reality forecasts

Augmented reality forecasts can engage viewers and keep them watching longer. Plus, they can incorporate traffic data as well, which is doubly helpful for viewers.

2. Data-driven forecasts

Data-driven properties (DDP) allow for unique, automated visuals over a multitude of weather parameters. DDP can help provide viewers with granular forecasts they can use to plan their days.

3. HD weather graphics

At a certain point, aesthetics do come into play. At IBM, we have made HD weather graphics a priority to help meteorologists deliver crystal-clear broadcasts.

4. 3D weather forecasts  

Bringing weather to life is an important way to keep your audience invested in your daily forecast. With 3D technology, your graphics will pop off the screen. These visuals can be used to bring your television broadcast to life.

5. Interactive forecasts

Another way to engage viewers is through interactivity. Max users can switch between different views and tower cams, so viewers always have various points of interest to observe.

Benefits of weather graphics

Having the right weather graphics to put in front of viewers can pay off. Meteorologists benefit from having a more engaged audience, while viewers benefit from a clearer understanding of the weather forecast. Let’s look at the benefits of having the right weather graphics.

1. Viewer engagement

The more exciting your weather graphics are, the more viewers will want to return to your forecast. By using new and unique weather graphics, viewers remain informed while also being entertained.

2. Loyalty

With that engagement comes loyalty. If your audience can count on you to produce quality content, they may be more likely to remain loyal to your station.

3. Credibility

Above all else, accuracy is key. Good, quality and accurate weather forecasts boost your credibility. That’s why having forecasts that break weather down hour by hour are so important to visualize, as it helps viewers plan their days. Having the right weather technology in place helps viewers have a more comprehensive understanding of how weather will impact traffic or their plans.

Our weather graphics solutions

Here at The Weather Company, an IBM Business, we know the benefits of weather graphics. That’s why we have cultivated solutions that help meteorologists stand out from the rest. Our solutions provide graphics that are data-driven, visually appealing, interactive and unique.

Max Reality

Use augmented reality forecasts to create dynamic 3D images of storms to entice and engage audiences.

max reality

Max Storm

Create stunning visuals using 3D weather radar to bring your forecasts to life.

max storm

Max Traffic

Use Max Traffic to combine traffic and weather data to create compelling and streamlined images for your forecast.

max traffic

Why use The Weather Company?

Delivering quality, engaging weather graphics is a top priority for us here at The Weather Company. With our solutions, engage your viewers with intriguing visuals that can help build loyalty. With the ability to share the weather—or even traffic—forecast quickly, your consumers can feel better knowing that they’re getting the most accurate information and can plan their day accordingly.

Ready to find out more about the benefits of having top-of-line weather graphics and how you can implement them into your broadcast? Request a demo* today.

 

*Link resides outside of ibm.com.