Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hurrican Allen: 1980

You might remember the old days of television weather before we had all these fancy computer graphics. They had weather maps with magnetic numbers and H's and L's for the highs and lows they could move around. When they wanted to show you a satellite photo, they taped it up to the wall and pointed a television camera at it.

When I was growing up, KSFY in Sioux Falls, South Dakota would give away the old satellite photos. You sent in your name on a postcard and if they drew it, you got that day's satellite photo. As a nerdy boy, that was really coo. Fortunately, Sioux Falls was not a major media market and didn't have a lot of competition since I got a couple of them. I still have one of them and just scanned it in to my computer.

I was lucky enough to get the satellite photo for August 7th, 1980 (the date is printed at the top but got cut off in the scan...I thought it was more important not to cut off the bottom of this one!) Hurricane Allen was the first named storm of the season and it was a doozy. It reached category 5 status with top winds of 190 mph making it one of the most powerful hurricanes of all time. Fortunately, it wasn't quite that strong when it made landfall north of Brownsville, it was down to a category 3 storm.

Okay, now I am totally geekin' out here. This hurricane was named Allen. Look at the satellite photo...they called it Hurricane Alan when they wrote the name on the photo! Yeah, a 30 year old, um, well not quite a typo but you get the idea!

Anyway, this is one of those old childhood pieces of geekenss which I still have and treasure to this day, yellowed and fading but a little piece of history.

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.


kkdither said...

That is a pretty cool piece of history. What is the estimated size?

I don't have many things from my childhood anymore. Other than a few photos and official documents, ie: birth certificate, baptismal record, most other items have disappeared over the years. One of the oldest mementos I still have is my Pink Floyd ticket stub to County Stadium on June 22, 1975. the stub lists the admission cost at $7.50.

hale-bopp said...

Do you mean the size of the photo? It is not quite 11 inches wide but a little more than 8.5 inches tall. If fit on my scanner in one direction but not quite in the other!

When other kids played house, I played weatherman. Between my brother and I, we had several of these. This was the only one showing a real major hurricane, but as you can imagine, every single cloud on every single satellite photo got transformed into tornadoes, snowstorms, floods and all manner of violent weather. There was NEVER a nice sunny day when I was giving the forecast!

SER said...

"When other kids played house, I played weatherman."

And here I thought it was all the pot you smoked!

Really cool picture, KK asked the question i was wondering, size.

Are you going to have it framed?

OrbsCorbs said...

I remember growing up Catholic that my sister would play nun, and would want me to play priest. I did occasionally, but I wouldn't stay interested for long. Being holy was boring.

A friend and I started a chemistry club in 7th grade - that's kind of geeky. We had chemistry sets and additional labware and equipment. But we were the only two members and spent most of our time trying to blow things up.