Weatherscan Local

From TWC Archive
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Weatherscan XL
Wxscan local logo.png
Weatherscan XL as seen from late 2000 until 2003
Manufacturer:Silicon Graphics
Hardware:SGI O2
Release date:March 31, 1999
Status:Retired – Decommissioned by The Weather Channel in 2004.
Visual output:Standard definition
Available add-onsVocal Local

Weatherscan Local was an American cable television network operated by The Weather Channel. Unlike its parent network, Weatherscan Local provided a continuous loop of local weather information, lifestyle-related tips, and, in select affiliates, traffic information, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Weatherscan Local was powered by a modified Weather Star XL unit and provided music built into the system. In 2003, an IntelliStar-based unit that would eventually become its successor was rolled out, with a simplified name, Weatherscan. By 2004, all XL based Weatherscan Local units had been replaced by IntelliStar units or decommissioned.


The channel launched on March 31, 1999, as Weatherscan Local. Originally, Weatherscan operated five collective services for local weather information: Weatherscan Local featured 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 the inclusion of traffic information; Weatherscan Espanol, which launched with Weatherscan Plus Traffic, was a Spanish-language version of Weatherscan Plus allowing regional or international weather information.

Graphics Scheme

Launch through 2000

When Weatherscan Local first launched in 1999, the graphics scheme was very similar to domestic Weather Star XL units. The background, in contrast to the midday clouds scene on domestic XLs, featured a sunset theme with orange and purple clouds on a blue sky background. The "Weatherscan Local by The Weather Channel" logo appeared in the upper left hand part of the screen with the time and date stacked on top of one another on the upper right hand side of the screen. The main typeface at this time was Akzidenz-Grotesk.

A small white-to-transparent gradient banner appeared below the Weatherscan Local logo for product titles. Each product appeared in a rectangular window with a rounded top left corner, outlined in white. For the extended 3-day forecast, each day appeared in its own window. A small subheader also appeared with location information rendered in yellow.

For map displays, the top part of the screen from the bottom of the banner and up stayed the same, with the map taking up the rest of the screen. The single radar product also showed the same radar legend found on domestic XLs.

A plain text LDL, very similar to ones found on domestic XLs, but without any weather icons, typically appeared during 36 hour forecast and extended forecast products.


Weatherscan received its second overhaul sometime in 2000. This overhaul marked the first time any Weatherscan units would see a neighborhood background.

The start of each forecast loop would see a new station ID, with the logo in the top third of the screen, plus a second screen for a message from the cable affiliate.

A slightly updated Weatherscan Local logo appeared in the banner at the upper right portion of the display. The banner, present on all products, was simply a lightly darkened rectangle taking up the top fifth of the screen, separated from the rest of the display from a small white-to-transparent gradient line. The Extended Forecast scene now contains a five-day forecast instead of a three day forecast.

Time and date moved to the bottom right portion of the display, in another anchored darkened space at the bottom of the screen, matching up with the length of the banner at the top. The left side of this "LDL" as it were was taken up by the cable affiliate's logo. Some cable affiliates, particularly Comcast, would put a white background on the far left section of the LDL to make the logo stand out, however this was not standard. Time and temperature could be temporarily be covered up by an ad crawl that would take up the length of most of the LDL.

Each different scene in a product received it's own background, with a slightly raised window, blurring the background, for weather information.

Product Scene Background
Up Next... n/a A hammock in the foreground, presumably in a backyard.
Local Forecast Current Conditions A white picket fence next to a tree.
Regional Current Conditions A front walk, with a manicured lawn on the left side. Toward the top is a mulched area with shrubbery. Next to that is the paved walk, with two steps leading out of frame.
36 Hour Forecast A back garden. Trees darken the background of the scene, but several types of potted plants are seen in the foreground, some of which are on a paved back patio with a step leading out of frame.
Extended Forecast The eaves of the roof, with white siding on the left side of the image, darkened so as to appear blue. Red roofing tiles make up the bulk of the scene with a yellow gutter beneath.
Almanac A back porch scene. Quite blurry, but one can make out a flowery plant on the left side of the scene, with the fence on the edge or the porch on the right side. One can barely making out a rocking chair in the background.


July 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".)

March 31, 2000

  • The new look of Weatherscan Local begins beta testing in select markets.

May 2000

  • 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." Optionally, at the discretion of the headend, a member of The Weather Channel Radio Network would narrate the forecast data.[1]


  • 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 uesd on TWC.
  • Some weather icons are updated to better match with ones used on air on The Weather Channel.
  • The maximum/minimum temperature positions on the Extended Forecast are switched.
  • A Weather Bulletin page is added in the beginning of the "Your Local Forecast" segment, replacing the alerts bulletin built into the 36 hour forecast.


  • The icon captions on the current conditions and extended forecast change from uppercase to mixed case, and is more detailed rather than using abbreviated captions (i.e. "Partly Cloudy" instead of "P CLOUDY").
  • The moon phase icons are updated in accordance with the domestic Weather Star XL's graphics update.

Mid-Late 2004

  • By this point, all Weatherscan XL units have been decommissioned in favor of the IntelliStar.

National feed

Weatherscan's national feed from December 2000.

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". This feed was pulled by most headends in 2001, and was discontinued by 2003 with the roll-out of the IntelliStar platform. [2]