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Eye Of The Storm, A Live Call-In Show (1987)

Page updated: August 28, 2015

This week, TWC Classics brings you "Eye of the Storm," which first aired on August 30, 1987. For The Weather Channel, it was the first of its kind. A one-hour, live, call-in show. It featured moderator (and Weather Channel OCM) Colleen Wine, Don Stephens from the America Red Cross, Wade Guice, the Director of Civil Defense of Harrison County and the city of Gulf Port, Mississippi, and TWC's hurricane specialist John Hope. TWC OCM Glenn Schwartz was featured in the taped segments.

After introducing the show and its guests, the first segment begins with Glenn explaining where hurricanes typically form. The video then goes to Dr. Neil Frank, the former director of the National Hurricane Center. Neil explains how hurricanes are nature's way of getting rid of the heat that builds up in the tropics.

Back to Glenn, we hear about the average number of storms in the Atlantic Ocean, as well as the typical areas and causes of formation. Glenn then explains how a hurricane forms and why so few storms reach hurricane strength, as well as the different parts of the storm. After explaining the what, where, and why of a hurricane, Glenn takes us into the storm itself.

Segment number two begins with Colleen talking about the number one cause of death in a hurricane - drowning as a result of the storm surge. This leads into another taped segment with Glenn Schwartz explaining how the storm surge works and why it's so deadly. After that, he talks about the dangers of wind and tornadoes.

The next segment begins with the first live calls from viewers. Viewers were asked to call with their questions for the three experts. The first question is "how vulnerable is New England to a major hurricane?" This is answered by John Hope.

The second question asked is about the slow season and why more storms haven't formed. This question is also answered by John. After a quick local forecast (which have all been edited out of the video below), Colleen asks Wade Guice what she should do if a Hurricane Warning is issued where she is.

After Wade's answer, Colleen asks Don Stephens if shelters are where people should go first. The next question comes from a viewer who asks what the chances are of the (then) current tropical depression forming into a hurricane and hitting the east coast.

The next caller asks if it's possible to determine the wind speed within a storm via satellite, which is answered by John. Wade adds to John's answer by talking about the "hurricane hunters."

The next segment opens with a taped segment where Glenn and Dr. Frank talk about the dangers of living on the east coast (or visiting it during hurricane season). Dr. Frank is especially concerned about Galveston (Texas), Tampa Bay (Florida), the Florida Keys, and the islands off New Jersey.

Ironically, Dr. Frank explains that New Orleans is by far the most vulnerable because of the Gulf of Mexico, Lake Pontchartrain, the Mississippi River, and the fact that most of the city is below sea level. Of course, this predication came true when Hurricane Katrina hit the city in 2005.

The final segment starts with Glenn explaining how forecasters track and forecast hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean. Glenn and Dr. Frank also talk about why watches and warnings are often issued for such a wide area and why it's often tricky to forecast the storm's next move.

After the taped segment, we head back to the studio for another viewer question. The viewer asks how long a hurricane can travel inland before it dissipates. Colleen asks Wade to answer this question (but John gives a more specific answer).

With inland storms often spawning tornadoes, Colleen asks John if they are of the same intensity as your typical mid-western tornado. The next caller asks how far inland she would have to go to escape a hurricane affecting the Outer Banks of North Carolina, which is answered by Wade.

After another local forecast (again, edited out here), Colleen takes more viewer questions. The next caller asks why tornadoes often form in the northeast portion of the storm, which is answered by John. The segment (and special) end with a discussion about the difficulties of getting people to take evacuations seriously.

Here's the entire special, posted by YouTube user "smart451cab." Tacked onto the end of the video is a "Tropical Update" segment with Vince Miller. Vince gives the latest on the "new" tropical depression in the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Lidia in the eastern Pacific, and Typhoon Dinah in the western Pacific.

YouTube preview

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