End of the “Square” Weather Graphics

Over the past two weeks KPTV and PDX-TV have made a subtle change in the on-air broadcast, one that most of you probably didn’t even notice, but it will give us some more “room” on our weather graphics.

Up until about 4 years ago, we (and the other stations in Portland) were broadcasting in what’s know as “4×3” size…the old square televisions.  Then about in 2007 or 2008 we began broadcasting in “16×9” size, which is the size you see in the image above.  This is separate than HD…not all stations are broadcasting news in HD in Portland, but all are in 16×9 aspect ratio.  Seems pretty straightforward so far?  Not quite.  Many of you have still been watching on older square television sets, or, more important, the signal that was going out on many cable systems was just the “hacked out” 4×3 section of our signal.  So if you look at the image above, imagine that most cable viewers could only see from one edge of the 7 Day forecast to the other edge.  In fact that’s what we see on our cable feed here in the weather center.

Obviously that leaves a lot of empty real estate, and means the 7 Day forecasts on all the stations are real narrow.

Starting about two weeks ago, we began “letterboxing” the signal to the cable carries and satellite services.  That means the entire wide newscast is sent out, and those with square televisions (not too many left) are seeing black bars at the top and bottom.  That’s the same thing you see with FOX programming, American Idol, NFL Football etc…  For everyone else watching on newer sets and digital cable feeds nothing has changed; you still see it all.

But allowing the entire view to be seen by everyone means we are now free to use the entire 16×9 area of our graphics.  Yes…I can jam more weather information into the same place!  Actually it’s most useful in the 7 Day forecast.  I just changed that this evening here:

Not a huge change, but noticeable.   I made widen it a bit further depending on exactly where the “safe title” area is.

Now you know what we do in television weather…obsess over the size of the graphics.

On to the weather…nice easterly downslope wind this evening.  You know it’s more of a downslope than Gorge wind when PDX is getting much strong east wind than Troutdale.  Larch Mountain, Washington has been seeing strong gusts as well.  The wind dies down tomorrow quite a bit, but will probably increase in the Gorge significantly the next few hours first.

Very little to talk about until we get to a real rainy/windy period that begins Sunday night and continues through most of next week.  In fact the first week of October looks more like early November!  Not temp-wise of course, but unusually wet and windy.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


62 Responses to End of the “Square” Weather Graphics

  1. Kyle says:

    I think Rob is calculating spines.

    (Sim City 2000)

    The bathrooms are in the first phase of being remodled now and Dad called the worker who said that the builder didn’t finish the roofing properly in a way that could make it leak in the next few years and we came home to get a few supplies and it started raining pretty good for a weak low pressure.

  2. bgb41 says:

    Pdx topped out at 74 just now for a high today. Sept 2011 just became the 2nd warmest September of all-time.

  3. SEA NWS issued statement regarding wind potential next week up here. Followed by lowest snow levels of the season thus far. Autumn is upon us, at least here in the puget sound. Ready, snowman of Everett?

  4. Austin (Cornelius) says:

    im liking the forecast! 🙂

  5. jbpdx says:

    Canadian Arctic nearly loses entire ice shelf

    TORONTO (AP) – Two ice shelves that existed before Canada was settled by Europeans diminished significantly this summer, one nearly disappearing altogether, Canadian scientists say in new research.
    The loss is important as a marker of global warming, returning the Canadian Arctic to conditions that date back thousands of years, scientists say. Floating icebergs that have broken free as a result pose a risk to offshore oil facilities and potentially to shipping lanes. The breaking apart of the ice shelves also reduces the environment that supports microbial life and changes the look of Canada’s coastline.
    Luke Copland is an associate professor in the geography department at the University of Ottawa who co-authored the research. He said the Serson Ice Shelf shrank from 79.15 square miles (205 square kilometers) to two remnant sections three years ago, and was further diminished this past summer.
    Copland said the shelf went from a 16-square-mile (42-square-kilometer) floating glacier tongue to 9.65 square miles (25 square kilometers), and the second section from 13.51 square miles (35 square kilometers) to 2 square miles (7 square kilometers), off Ellesmere Island’s northern coastline.
    This past summer, Ward Hunt Ice Shelf’s central area disintegrated into drifting ice masses, leaving two separate ice shelves measuring 87.65 and 28.75 square miles (227 and 74 square kilometers) respectively, reduced from 131.7 square miles (340 square kilometers) the previous year.
    “It has dramatically broken apart in two separate areas and there’s nothing in between now but water,” said Copland.
    Copland said those two losses are significant, especially since the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf has always been the biggest, the farthest north and the one scientists thought might have been the most stable.
    “Recent (ice shelf) loss has been very rapid, and goes hand-in-hand with the rapid sea ice decline we have seen in this decade and the increasing warmth and extensive melt in the Arctic regions,” said Ted Scambos, lead scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado, remarking on the research.

    • o.c.paul says:

      So what? Weather cycles in and out of trends. A recent NASA study reports that far more CO2 is leaving the lower atmosphere than previously thought. This is all just climate evolution (sorry, I don’t worship at the altar of
      ‘Michael Mann’-made global warming) So, what are we to do?
      Adapt and survive, that’s what. (even if that means a new, cooler phase)

    • Kyle says:

      I find that very odd since upper air data actually cooled a bit since 1998.

      The only conclusion is that this is part of God’s final judgement for the world since it says in the bible God will burn the world in fire su[c[h as making the sun not shine and the stars shall fall out of the sky.

      The mily way will be aligned in the center of the galaxy during 2012 and beyond……………….so it looks like we are in for very intresting times never seen before.

  6. pappoose in scappoose says:

    NEWS FLASH! The Woolly Bears are out! Just spotted one that looked very similar to the one pictured here (same ratio of black/orange):


    • Wendy-Silver Lake says:

      I’ve been seeing them here too. Pretty much even colored, although I did see one that had a lot more orange than black.

  7. bgb41 says:

    Portland would need to reach 74 today to secure the 2nd warmest September in history. A high of 72 would give us the 3rd warmest.

  8. cherie in vernonia says:

    where did this rain come from? Sure was not expecting to get soaked whilst walking 2 blocks lol

  9. bgb41 says:

    9/29/2011 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:95 at DW6983 Winston( 600 ft)
    Low: 66 at SILVER BUTTE(3973 ft)

    High:61 at YACHTS Yachats(74 ft) & RED HILL(4400 ft)
    Low: 26 at LaPine 3N (4199 ft ) & CRANE PRAIRIE (5500 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 59 degrees
    CW1403 Paulina (88/29 ) (3688 ft )
    CABIN LAKE (88/29) (4560 ft)

  10. No Snow says:

    Where is Rob? Is he still having his quarterly episode?

  11. Pics from a short hike up at Lost Lake Butte yesterday.

  12. thejory (Sandy) says:

    What I wish ALL the TV stations would do, is stick their logo in the corner of the screen. It’s obnoxious having it a quarter of the way up from the bottom of the screen. It ruins some the TV watching enjoyment.

  13. Large spread in temp today. Started at 42.2 and ended at 85.2. Just a perfect amount of offshore flow today

  14. chiefWright (Marquam) says:

    May I make a suggestion for the 7 day format? I don’t know if it’s clear to folks whether the low temperature is the predicted low for the day (which usually happens in the morning of that day), or for the overnight (which usually happens in the morning of the next day. This might help clear up some confusion in the wintertime when a forecast thaw is predicted to occur overnight:

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      You want to talk confusion? The different TV stations in Portland each do it differently. I think the average viewer isn’t even sure which low is for which day. I like your idea, but where would we put tonight’s low?

    • chiefWright (Marquam) says:

      Yes, I asked around last year and got different (and in some cases ambiguous) answers. It’s not a simple problem.

      I’d recommend tonight’s (Thursday’s) low be underneath the dividing line between Thursday & Friday.

    • Brian in Bellingham says:

      KOMO TV in Seattle does that, and the way they do it is to have the daytime high listed above, the nightime low listed below and a little offset to the right, and they label it “night”, so it is obviously that it means the temperature for that night and the next morning. I think the key is having it offset just a bit to the right, so you know it is the night temps after the daytime high, not the morning temps before the daytime high.

  15. PaulB/Eugene says:

    ECMWF long range (out to end of Oct)….if it is right looks to be a rather cool month with variable temps, with a few opportunities for frost on the pumpkin…with the first episode about Oct 12….no arctic blasts….so 1935, 1971 redux not foreseen at this point. Not Columbussy either.

  16. Aleta- West Gresham says:

    Interesting temperature variation today. I was out in Sandy where there was very little to no wind and it was around mid 80’s. The closer to Gresham I got the winder it was and the cooler it was. The upper air must be on the cooler side!

  17. CorbettTez says:

    Thought this wind was supposed to die off this afternoon? Any updates on when that will now happen? Currently 32 mph gusting to 41 here in Corbett..must’ve missed something, I thought that Mark had said it would die off pretty quickly this afternoon.

  18. Timmy_Supercell (Klamath Falls @ 4200') says:

    If the weather is not 70 mph gusts w/ 2″ per hour rainfall…. then the weather is not exciting!!! ^_^

  19. Unknown says:

    Blog Rules

    Commenting on this blog is open to anyone with an interest in or fascination with weather. Here at FOX-12 we’re happy to provide you a space to “geek out” with fellow Pacific Northwesterners. But please don’t abuse the privilege.

    It’s okay to insert video or pictures, as long as the link points to something appropriate for the general public. No politics, obscenity, etc…

    Choose a name or identification once and stick with it. The very first time you comment it is held for moderation. After it’s approved, that EXACT name will be allowed to comment at any time. Note that this applies to your IP address too. So using the same name but on Grandma’s computer will require a one-time hold as well. This keeps the spam out.

    This is pretty obvious, but avoid being rude or taunting others too.

  20. N3EG says:

    Instead of a wide 7 day, how about a narrow 10 day?

    Yeah, I know, baaaaad idea…

  21. SnowedIn - North Plains says:

    Not really related to the current topics, but stumbled across this picture and thought it was very cool.


  22. PaulB/Eugene says:

    Looking out in the longer range…..ECMWF still with trend toward splitting of troughs over the western USA….with precip over California…split not occurring N of us but rather over Oregon…whereas GFS does not show this much…neither does Canadian…I think….

    I am kind of getting the idea that the recurring theme this winter will be troughs digging SE from the Aleutians/AK…..with only chance for windstorms being westerlies undercutting ridge over G of AK and phasing with northern stream off our coast.

    As for splitting…if that is the trend this fall/winter then California may get more precip than expected, and the Central Plains toward Chicago/Great Lakes could be in for some heavy snows. Yes this is a la nina and this splitting should not happen.

    As for the Cascades….GFS out to la la land does not show 850mb isotherm reaching OR yet…while ECMWF shows it reaching us by October 12….in general…in onshore flow/precip situations…850mb temp of 0C correlates roughly with snow sticking at higher pass elevations.

    Last winter the DJFaverage temp at Government Camp (29.57) was the third coldest since the memorable 92-93 winter, and the unexpected mild January kept it from being colder. Feb was the third coldest at Gov Camp since 1951. Feb-Mar avg temp was third coldest since 1951…with only Feb-Mar of 1955, 1956, 1989 being colder….

  23. pappoose in scappoose says:

    I really like fronts that come from a place where “MEN ARE MEN”. Hahaah!


  24. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Couldn’t break 60mph, but it was a good training session for the SCREAMING/BLASTING East winds developing in the Frigid Zone. Coming soon to a neighborhood near you.


    Really like the graphics starting on MON, Mark.

  25. bgb41 says:

    9/28/2011 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:88 at AGNESS2( 247 ft)
    Low: 59 at Medford, Rogue V(1329 ft)

    High:48 at MT. HOWARD(7910 ft) & Mount Hood Meado(6601 ft)
    Low: 25 at CABIN LAKE (4560 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 52 degrees
    Beatty (80/28 ) (4320 ft )
    CABIN LAKE (77/25) (4560 ft)

  26. Mike near Clackamas Town Center says:

    The Euro 00Z is suggesting next week’s storm will cause a split flow causing the area of low pressure to sit over the SW U.S. for several days

    • eugene in vancouver says:

      NOOO! Not the Split Flow! This winter’s gonna suck

    • Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

      Better to have split flow in October than in December/January! A split flow early in the season does not indicate that it will persist into winter. Fall is the best time for split flow… You get cool, comfortable sunny days; and early frosts. 🙂

    • goducks09 says:

      I like where your heads at Ryan. Love crisp/sunny fall days.

  27. Strange night tonight. Air is really dry, nice and clear out. End of September and are temp is in the 60’s at midnight and increasing. was 63 now 64. One more summer like day then it looks like fall is here to stay.

    • bgb41 says:

      Pilot, I just witnessed at 12:05am the following conditions

      East Battle Ground 199th @ 167th stop sign —-43 degrees

      Drove one mile north to 219th at 12:06 am —— 63 degrees and windy.

    • Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

      Ahhh… down sloping. Can’t wait for Thursday to end so we can get into full on Fall weather.

  28. Karl Bonner says:

    Temp at DLS down to 54 at 10:53 pm with a DP of 36. I bet we get down to 40-43 by dawn.

  29. Nice graphics. I gave up my satelite a few months ago. I watch ch 12 streaming on the net. I’ll pay extra close to the graphics on the 7 day forecast tomorrow am instead of just the numbers. 😉

    As to the wet mild weather. That’ll make the stakes easier to pull out of the ground, water all the trays of greens and other crops, and charge the new planting beds with moisture so maybe I’ll get more even germination.

    Yup, it’s time for the cool weather crops. I noticed that my letuce and endive seed is germinating a lot better now than when we had those 90° days.

  30. Mike near Clackamas Town Center says:

    The new wide view looks really cool. Next week the parade of fall storms will start.

  31. Aleta-West Gresham says:

    Thanks Mark! Been a while since I heard the wind whistling down the chimney.

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