The Weather Channel launched Weather Channel en Español, the first 24-hour weather news channel in the United States, spoken only in Spanish.
MOLINE, Ill. – The Weather Channel launched The Weather Channel in Spanish on May 2, providing specific local forecasts for people in America, Latin America and the Caribbean.
They have access to all the same technologies as their English counterparts, such as immersive mixed reality (IMR) and their climate, environment and sustainability networks.
They will have their own meteorologist and people behind the scenes whose goal is to give the weather forecast, explain the science behind weather phenomena and explain climate concepts and their impacts only in Spanish.
The Weather Channel in Spanish is available for free on major streaming platforms through your TV or mobile phone. It can also be accessed through The Weather Channel app.
The launch is revolutionary; it is the first broadcast of its kind to offer 24 hours of weather in Spanish. This fixes a major hole in weather communication; transmit vital information to the Latino/Hispanic community.
There has always been a disparity in the Spanish-speaking community when it comes to trying to learn about the weather, especially in life-threatening situations. This came to the fore in 2013 when a family of seven from Guatemala in El Reno, Oklahoma took shelter in a drainage ditch as a tornado swept through town. Unfortunately, there was a flash flood warning at the same time, which never reached the Spanish-speaking family. The family died of drowning shortly thereafter.
The National Weather Service reviewed the incident and concluded that a lack of communication in Spanish was a factor in the tragedy.
Since the tragedy, measures have been taken to communicate the weather to the Spanish-speaking community. The federal government’s wireless emergency alert system, which transmits warnings from the National Weather Service, can now send those alerts in Spanish. Additionally, some local officials post weather information in Spanish and have staff who can respond to comments in Spanish.
However, there is still plenty of room for improvement. National Weather Service weather reports and Federal emergency alerts issued by FEMA through the Emergency Alert System are sent in English only.
Another problem is the fact that there isn’t a specific Spanish dialect. There are variations in Spanish-based languages depending on where you are from, just like the differences between American English and British English. The same word has different meanings depending on the origin of the person.
There are also not many bilingual meteorologists who help communicate the weather and explain weather phenomena that occur here in the United States and not in their home country, so they have no experience with them or how to prepare for it.
Allen Media CEO Byron Allen, owner of The Weather Channel, said, “Our launch of The Weather Channel in Spanish is historic and a recognition of the significant and continued growth of America’s Hispanic population and the continued need for informed and safe public as multi-billion dollar weather disasters are on the rise, especially in communities where Spanish is spoken as both a primary and secondary language in millions of homes across America”