ATLANTA, April 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Weather Channel Companies (TWCC) today begins "Tornado Hunt 2012," a unique live, multi-platform experience that submerges the consumer into the heart of Tornado Alley. Now in its fourth year, Meteorologist Mike Bettes and an expert team of storm chasers will once again embark on a journey through the Plains to capture tornadoes live on air, online, mobile and tablet from April 30 – May 25.
The team's 2011 tornado hunt, an 11,000 mile journey, resulted in a 2012 National Headliner Award for journalistic excellence, taking first place for Mike Bettes' reporting on the Joplin, MO, tornado outbreak. Bettes and the team were on site minutes after an EF-5 tornado devastated the town.
The Weather Channel will give viewers a real-time account of this year's experience with live and taped coverage and a constant feed of fresh photos, video and stories through all dayparts and across all platforms. "Tornado Hunt 2012" will provide all of the up close and personal experiences that consumers look for each year, as well as some exciting new features:
- The team will travel in NBC's specially-equipped vehicle again, outfitted with multiple HD cameras allowing them to stream live chase video on all platforms while driving.
- The team will be outfitted with several high-tech gadgets, including:
- Wearable "Point of View" cameras capable of transmitting 30-second clips directly to Twitter, Facebook and The Weather Channel YouTube Channel, or broadcasting live via iPad from the Atlanta studio.
- "Live Cast," another method of delivering live coverage, is an app installed on phones in the field – activating the app will launch a live picture. This will allow the team more opportunities and angles for coverage as well as allow them to partner with other storm chasers to bring in multiple live tornado streams.
- An all-new "Tornado Hunt Tracker" that pinpoints the team's location, and TWC will overlay radar on air so that Severe Weather Expert Dr. Greg Forbes can provide live real-time analysis of the storm Bettes and team are following.
- The popular "Night Vision" camera returns for a second year, offering viewers a rare look at difficult-to-see tornadoes that form at night.
- Special 3D severe weather explanations from Dr. Forbes and Bettes for "The Science Behind…" segments.
- The latest outlook with TWC's exclusive TOR:CON forecasts, an index developed by Dr. Forbes to estimate the likelihood of tornado activity within a given time period.
- A newly designed "Tornado Hunt 2012" Web page at weather.com/tornadohunt, a key feature of the recently launched "Tornado Central" section of weather.com, which provides comprehensive tornado season coverage and an increased emphasis on public safety.
- TWC will be part of the "Spotter Network," feeding reports directly to the National Weather Service (NWS) Chat that will become part of the NWS storm reports.
- Consumers can engage by following Bettes and the hunt team via Twitter at @TWCMikeBettes and post comments to The Weather Channel Facebook page. The official hashtag for "Tornado Hunt 2012" is #tornadohunt. This hashtag and all tornado hunt handles will be pulled into an online live chat to provide minute by minute updates in conjunction with the live stream and allow people to comment and ask questions in real time.
- Additionally, TWC will provide breaking news alerts on Twitter via @TWCBreaking or via text messages on mobile phones. These alerts will let people know a chase is underway. To register to receive alerts on your mobile phone, text "twcbreaking" to 446361.
- An "inside the chase," behind-the-scenes experience with the Global Forecast Center at The Weather Channel, with Dr. Forbes and Bettes as they set the chase day strategy. Additionally, Dr. Forbes will join Bettes for a portion of the hunt, as will Meteorologists Danielle Banks and Daniel Dix.
For more information on "Tornado Hunt 2012," visit www.weather.com/tornadohunt.
About The Weather Channel Companies
The Weather Channel companies (TWCC) are made up of The Weather Channel® television network, The Weather Channel digital properties, and WSI. The Weather Channel is based in Atlanta and is seen in more than 100 million U.S. households. TWCC also operates Weatherscan®, a 24-hour all-local weather network; The Weather Channel Radio Network; and The Weather Channel HD. The most popular source of weather news and information, TWCC properties reach 60 million monthly Web consumers (weather.com and Desktop) and 32 million monthly mobile users (mobile Web and applications) and offers the second most popular mobile app on all smartphones. WSI, headquartered in Andover, MA, primarily provides business-to-business weather services, particularly for the media, aviation, marine and energy sectors. TWCC is owned by a consortium made up of NBC Universal and the private equity firms The Blackstone Group and Bain Capital. For more information, visit www.weather.com/press
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SOURCE The Weather Channel