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The Weather Channel en Español makes its debut

The Weather Channel launched the Weather Channel en Español, the first 24-hour weather news channel in the U.S. spoken solely in Spanish.

MOLINE, Ill. — The Weather Channel launched The Weather Channel en Espanol on May 2nd, providing specific local forecasting for people in America, Latin America, and the Caribbean. 

They have access to all the same technologies as their English counterpart, 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 focus is giving the weather, explaining the science behind weather phenomena, and explaining climate concepts and their impacts only in Spanish.

The Weather Channel en Espanol is available for free on the top streaming platforms via your TV or cellphone. It can also be accessed through The Weather Channel app.

The launch is groundbreaking; it's the first show of its kind to offer 24-hours of the weather in Spanish. This addresses a major hole in weather communication; getting lifesaving information to the Latino/Hispanic community.

There has always been a disparity in the Spanish-speaking community when trying to get informed about the weather, especially in life-threatening situations. This was brought to the forefront in 2013 when a family of seven from Guatemala in El Reno, Oklahoma took cover in a drainage ditch as a tornado made its way through the town. Unfortunately, there was a flash flood warning at the same time as well, which never reached the Spanish-speaking family. The family died of drowning soon after.

The National Weather Service reviewed the incident and concluded that a lack of Spanish-language communication was a factor in the tragedy.

Since the tragedy occurred, steps have been taken to communicate the weather to the Spanish-speaking community. The federal government’s wireless emergency alerts system, which transmits National Weather Service warnings, now can send those alerts in Spanish. Also,  some local officials post weather information in Spanish and have staff that can respond to the comments in Spanish.

However, there is still a lot of room for improvement. Weather bulletins from the National Weather Service and federal emergency alerts issued by FEMA via the emergency alert system are sent out only in English.

Another issue is the fact that there is not one specific Spanish dialect. There are variations in Spanish-based languages based on where you are from, just like the differences between American English and British English. The same word has different meanings depending on where someone is from.

There are also still not a lot of bilingual meteorologists that help communicate the weather and explain weather phenomena that occur here in the United States and not in their homeland, so they have no experience with them or how to prepare for it.

The CEO of Allen Media, Byron Allen, who owns The Weather Channel said, “Our launch of The Weather Channel en Espanol is historic, and is a recognition of the continued significant growth of the U.S. Hispanic population and the constant need to keep the entire public informed and safe as multibillion-dollar weather disasters are on the rise- especially in communities where Spanish is spoken as both the primary and secondary language in millions of households throughout America”