Weatherscan (originally called Weatherscan Local and known as The Weather Channel Weatherscan) is a TV channel offered by The Weather Channel. Carried on select cable systems in the United States, Weatherscan features uninterrupted local weather information in graphical format on a continuous loop. All content is produced by an IntelliStar unit at the cable company's headend and, unlike The Weather Channel, Weatherscan does not feature on-air talent of any kind.
When it debuted in 1999, Weatherscan operated five collective services for local weather information: Weatherscan Local features animated weather information with a complete local weather segment every two minutes; Weatherscan Radar featured a continuous Doppler radar loop, along with severe weather advisories when warranted; Weatherscan Plus, which debuted on April 30, 1999 featured activity-specific forecasts for golf, skiing, boating, beachgoing and business and leisure travel; Weatherscan Plus Traffic, which launched on May 31, 1999 featured the same format as Weatherscan Plus with traffic information included; Weatherscan Espanol, which launched with Weatherscan Plus Traffic, was a Spanish-language version of Weatherscan Plus allowing regional or international weather information.
The IntelliStar unit used by Weatherscan is configured differently than that used by The Weather Channel, featuring different graphics, additional weather products, and runs continuously. A pre-recorded narration introduces several segments, including "Your current conditions," "The local doppler radar," and "Your local forecast." The narration is not the same as the narration on The Weather Channel's local forecasts and uses a female announcer.
Weatherscan is available in many top markets around the United States, though its availability is less than that of The Weather Channel. Many cable companies offer Weatherscan on their digital cable lineup, although a few companies provide the channel on their basic cable lineup, on which The Weather Channel is also offered. Dish Network has also added a Weatherscan feed to their service, which began in 2011.
Weatherscan has a variety of segments that show different information regarding the weather. Below are a list of known packages on Weatherscan and some brief information about them. Note that some Weatherscans do not carry some of these packages.
During the XL era, five different packages could be chosen.
Currently available packages on Weatherscan include:
Local Forecast: The local forecast is the segment that all Weatherscans have. It includes all local weather data, including current conditions, local radar, and 5-day forecast. This package is mainly used for one city, but on some Weatherscans there are multiple forecast city loops.
Local Radar: The local radar segment shows the local doppler radar looping continuously for one minute.
Airport Conditions: The airport segment shows local airport delays and weather conditions for two airports in the headend's metropolitan area. It also has a list of delays for major airports throughout the nation. This is one of the segments that most Weatherscans carry.
Travel Forecast: This segment is ideal for individuals who plan to travel. The travel segment shows regional forecast maps and a three day forecast for select cities nationwide. As with the airport segment, travel is one of the most common segments on Weatherscan.
International Forecast: People who plan to travel around the globe can watch the international forecast for weather for select cities worldwide.
Weather and Your Health: Weather and your health displays a variety of health-related forecasts, including air quality, ultraviolet index, and sun safety information.
Ski and Snow (seasonal): The skier's forecast shows a list of ski resorts and their conditions throughout the country for those who plan to hit the slopes. It also includes a snowfall forecast map.
Golf Forecast (seasonal): The golfer's forecast includes the forecast for golf courses and resorts as well as a golf index and a tee time forecast.
Garden (seasonal): Garden is a rare segment that very few headends carry. This package contains information for lawn and gardening activities. It includes a precipitation forecast map and a drought severety map.
Boat and Beach (seasonal): Boat and beach is only available for select headends in coastal locations. It includes marine forecasts, tidal information, and surf reports.
Note: "Domestic IntelliStar" refers to STARs that output content for The Weather Channel.
March 31, 1999: Weatherscan Local debuts, showing only a 2 minute long local forecast back to back. The only song that was used was a two minute cut of "TSLF-01" by Trammell Starks. (Named by TWC as "Fair Weather".)
Weatherscan Local gets a new look. The weather icons' animation was removed (they were animated prior to this update) and are now still icons.
New products are added to several Weatherscan Locals nationwide, including health, airports, and the Spanish forecast, among others. Some Weatherscans have been reported to still show only the local forecast back to back.
An entire album of Trammell Starks music is now played instead of just Fair Weather. Some Weatherscan Local machines did not receive this update until late 2002.
Vocal Local Narration also debuts by TWC staff announcer Allen Jackson, but only two screens had narration at the time, for the Current Conditions, "your current conditions", and for the 36 Hour Forecast, "the forecast for your area", but sometimes an unknown announcer would read the 36 Hour Forecast.
2001: Weatherscan Local's local forecast now comes directly from The Weather Channel instead of the National Weather Service. This change occurred on Weatherscan Local earlier than the WeatherStars used on TWC.
Weatherscan Local begins beta testing on the IntelliStar platform, about six months prior to domestic IntelliStar testing. Most areas did not see the upgrade until late 2003 or early 2004, however. This brought with it a major upgrade to the channel:
Weatherscan Local has been simplified to "Weatherscan" and has received entirely new graphics, using Frutiger as the flagship typeface. The weather icons once again become animated.
A "severe weather mode" was added to Weatherscan during this upgrade. After a warning beep is heard, a weather ticker appears at the bottom of the screen, the yellow and blue color scheme changes to red and gray, and it only shows the local forecast, and a severe weather message saying "Weatherscan gives you this special message because of severe weather in your area".
The narration by "Local on the 8's" announcer Allen Jackson is replaced with female narration by Amy Bargeron.
Early-mid August 2004:
The local radar is enhanced, now showing more major roads on the radar, and city identifiers that are closer to the domestic IntelliStar's.
The local radar now shows the precipitation's movement within the past three hours instead of two.
The music has been fixed so it does not skip.
February 17, 2005:
The 36-hour forecast now becomes a 48-hour local forecast, now showing the forecast for today up to the next day's night.
During severe weather mode, Weatherscan now shows only the local radar, weather bulletins (if a weather watch or statement is issued), and the special weather message.
The severe weather message is changed to "Weatherscan/<Insert cable Headend here> brings you this message because of severe weather in your area."
July 2005: A "traffic report" was added to Weatherscan's on the top viewing markets such as Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Atlanta, showing the traffic conditions from Traffic Pulse for a city's metropolitan area. Also, a 1-minute long local radar segment has been added to Weatherscans nationwide.
September 27, 2005:
Weatherscan receives a bold new look in accordance with The Weather Channel's new logo and graphics. This iteration has the same aesthetics and features as the previous look, although now featuring an "L-bar" which shows instant information to viewers, similar in vein to the now-defunct NBC Weather Plus. Current conditions, extended forecast, local radar, and local observations are now shown constantly to the viewer.
More narration is added to Weatherscan, such as narration to the local radar, traffic segment, among other segments.
Note: Areas that were in Hurricane Rita's path received this Weatherscan update about a week earlier.
April 2006: HiRAD technology begins to be introduced into some Weatherscans.
The gradients on the squeezeback section are modified to match the new icons.
March 11, 2010: The weather icons change once again to more realistic icons.
December 8, 2010: The Traffic segment is discontinued after TWC fails to renew its contract with Traffic Pulse.
When Weatherscan Local debuted in 1999, there was also a national version of the channel that was used for satellite companies and smaller cable companies that could not afford Weatherscan Local. This channel featured current temperatures and the forecast for the next several days for select cities throughout the United States, as well as national and regional radar images. This channel was named simply "Weatherscan". There is uncertainty as to whether or not the national version was discontinued. However, since Weatherscan Local simplified its name to "Weatherscan" in 2003, it is likely that the national feed was discontinued during or around that time. A new Weatherscan feed launched in July 2011 for Dish Network subscribers, replacing the short-lived service The Weather Cast that had been founded as a replacement for The Weather Channel as a result of a carriage dispute in May 2010; the Weatherscan feed provides regionalized information for cities within 125 miles of a given area, and is delivered in the same manner as the Weatherscan systems on cable providers.