List of unusual on-air phenomena on The Weather Channel

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The following is a listing of documented anomalies that have occurred on The Weather Channel. The channel, as a television network that must utilize live coverage of weather events, is particularly susceptible to a variety of issues that can affect its broadcast. This list is divided into a section for national anomalies, which originated on the part of The Weather Channel itself, and local anomalies, which originated either on part of the local cable company's WeatherSTAR system or the cable company itself.

National anomalies

  • October 19, 2007 - During the Local on the 8s segment at 5:58pm CST, Vivian Brown is heard speaking over the music, saying, "Can anybody hear me? No. Do they have me going off the top? (inaudible) Ok. I don't hear anybody. So am I not going off the top or what? Huh?"
  • January 22, 2008 - Multiple anomalies, referred to as the "great meltdown" incident, related to a power outage at The Weather Channel's headquarters prior to midnight:
    • At 12:26am EST, around an hour and a half after the power outage, between commercials, a black screen appears while portions of the song "After Dark" by Dave Koz play.
    • Around 1:45am EST, a video documents that TWC had to switch icons on its emergency forecast feed to the previous set of icons, which was changed in 2007. Trammell Starks music plays in the background of the emergency feed. For approximately 30 seconds around that time, the feed cuts abruptly to a shot of the chroma key wall used by on-camera meteorologists. Commercials do not play during the length of the video, and it is assumed that they stopped playing sometime prior to that point.
    • Around 6:39am EST, a video documents that at that point, TWC was still cutting into its emergency feed to deliver live forecasts from on-camera meteorologists. At that time, Jen Carfagno is on-camera. Unusually, at 6:44, she erroneously states, "For now, here's your Local on the 8s!" before the emergency feed quickly returns.
    • Around 10:18am EST, a video documents that TWC had largely recovered from its meltdown, but still had issues with local forecast segment cueing and music playback. Commercials play as normal. During the 10:18 local forecast, the emergency feed plays and one song abruptly cuts off in favor of another.
  • July 4, 2008 - At 12:38am EDT, the signal to begin playing Local on the 8s is not pushed out, resulting in a national forecast playing for all viewers where a local forecast would have otherwise played. During the following segment of Evening Edition, the lower display line (LDL) returns on-screen as it should, but as the segment begins transitioning to a commercial break, the signal to begin playing Local on the 8s is sent, causing the local forecast to play on top of commercials for around 15 seconds before it is aborted. The LDL remains on-screen for a few seconds afterwards, before it is taken down as well.
  • December 15, 2008 - During the Local on the 8s segment at 11:28am EST, a portion of the intro to the song "Recall" by Mysteriam plays, beginning around 42 seconds into the song and ending around the 1:20 mark. The result is a screeching cacaphony of noises that sound like noisemaker toys playing during the first half of the local forecast. After the portion of the song plays, the rest of the local forecast runs silently (minus Vocal Local narrations). The incident is immortalized in a socool775 video entitled "TWC Local Forecast- The Most Bizarre 'Whachumacallit' Ever."
  • November 6, 2009 - During Wake Up With Al, during an interview with Justin Bieber, Al Roker’s voice begins glitching.
  • April 30, 2010 - Despite a major tornado outbreak, The Weather Channel continues airing a movie, The Avengers (1998), in place of live weather coverage as part of its Flick and a Forecast movie block. The incident causes major controversy among viewers and contributes to the tensions of a channel carriage dispute between the network and Dish Network, which was already considering axing the channel in favor of a competitor. Meteorologist Jim Cantore, who was told by the network that the movie would not air, expresses his frustration with the decision when responding to a complaint on Twitter.
  • January 28, 2014 - During a live shot at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, a student, Colin Marcelli, runs into meteorologist Jim Cantore, who knees the student in the groin. The student then runs away behind Cantore. The video of the incident received millions of views in the days following the incident. When interviewed by a local news outlet, the student said that he "would do it again."
  • ca. March 29, 2014 - During a rerun of an episode of When Weather Changed History about an aircraft disaster, a promotional bug for AMHQ featuring Sam Champion laughing and smiling appears at inappropriate times in the bottom right corner of the screen, most notably during a shot of officials inspecting crash carnage.
  • May 28, 2015 - Due to an Internet outage at The Weather Channel, the channel is forced to return to its previously used WSI Titan HD radar maps system. The system was last used in 2012 and was responsible for on-air radar maps beginning during the early era of the network's 2008 HD relaunch.
  • July 15 or 16, 2017 - During either that Saturday or Sunday's edition of AMHQ Weekend, a chyron screen entitled "Foods to Keep You Cool" shows the following bullet points: "MELONS, Mary, PINEAPPLE, CUCUMBER, TOMATOES, CELERY."
  • April 29, 2022 - During live weather coverage, a camera shot is directed at Jen Carfagno, with Dr. Greg Postel to her right, on the other side of a computer desk. Close analysis of one of the computer screens shown on his desk during the shot reveals a Google images search with images of Dora the Explorer, and one image in particular selected, showing Dora pulling thorns out of the tail of a crocodile.

Local anomalies

A man climbs up a ladder carrying a piece of decorative glass, setting up The Weather Channel's Hurricane Central studio. This was broadcast by mistake in the Cincinnati area due to an IntelliStar error in 2007.
Setup of the Hurricane Central studio, broadcast by mistake in the Cincinnati area due to an IntelliStar error.
  • May 8, 2007 - Sometime around 4:00pm EDT, the IntelliStar unit serving downtown Cincinnati, OH, receives an incorrect alternate video feed for a weather update (a feature the network still utilizes to reach specific areas experiencing severe weather). The "weather update," however, is actually a camera feed of a man on a ladder assembling the studio for "Hurricane Central". According to the person who captured the incident on video, the incident went on for around another 30 minutes or longer.
  • February 21, 2008 - At 11:20pm EDT, during an extended edition of Evening Edition, the IntelliStar unit serving Lancaster, PA, receives an incorrect alternate video feed. The camera feed in question is, at first, a silent version of national weather coverage, but around 11:23, the feed fades to black, eventually returning just over a minute later with a shot of the Global Forecast Center. Unaware that they are live on-air, Rich Johnson and Carl Parker walk around behind the desk, the former of which is preparing for his next shift. The local IntelliStar continues to display local advertisement products, the LDL (off-and-on), and the Local on the 8s. At some points, music begins playing over the camera feed, as does the audio from national advertisements. After Local on the 8s, the erroneous camera feed continues, but with the audio from the correct national coverage feed. This occurs for around 2 minutes before it fades to black once again, plays the intro to Evening Edition, cuts to black, and then returns the wrong feed again, again silent. The wrong feed is soon replaced by a silent version of the correct feed that oddly lacks on-camera meteorologists in front of the playing maps. Rather than showing commercials at the appropriate time, a map of southern California stays on screen. After Local on the 8s, the maps continue to play, until at 11:43, during one of the maps, a static noise is heard and Carl Parker suddenly appears on-screen.
  • May 19, 2009 - Well-known fandom personality The Weather Chazz captures a severe IntelliStar error in which almost all background images for the Local on the 8s segment appear black, as do maps. Following the forecast segment, when the lower display line (LDL) appears over live programming, the background to the LDL is missing and the entire screen—besides the LDL's weather and traffic data display, the upper bar of the line, and the logo—turns black.
  • June 23, 2010 - Unusual errors plague the IntelliStar unit for State College, PA, in one of the most extreme IntelliStar glitches ever documented, although only some of the glitches are recorded. Prior to a local forecast at 6:58pm EDT, multiple weather warning messages appear at once. During the local forecast (the portion documented), the unit begins erratic behaviors including repeated instances of forecast products, out-of-order products, narrations playing on top of each other, narrations playing during the wrong forecast products, cutting to the national forecast screen, and the local forecast playing on top of live tornado coverage. Besides lag, the severe thunderstorm warning crawl at the bottom of the screen at the time is unaffected. By 7:01pm, the unit begins to play the products normally beginning at the Getaway Forecast, cutting off in the middle of the text-based Local Forecast product at 7:02. The incident, according to Steve Z, the uploader of the video, is the result of the cable system rebooting the machine.

See also

  • Weather Star, series of computers utilized by The Weather Channel at local cable companies