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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, April 5, 2009

Still tweaking our weather map, city forecasts

By Mark Platte
Advertiser Editor

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser
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Our recent newspaper redesign went over smoothly and readers seem pleased with the changes, but a few took issue with the weather page.

Space reductions forced us to drop 11 U.S. cities and one international city and, as expected, those who follow the weather in those areas called to complain. We lost Birmingham, Buffalo, Burlington, Great Falls, Hartford, Little Rock, Oklahoma City, Raleigh, Sioux Falls, Tampa and Portland, Maine. We also removed Islamabad.

We looked at all our cities and their relationship to Hawai'i. Many of the West Coast cities are naturals because of the travel between here and there. Most major cities in Asia have to stay put as well for obvious reasons.

It gets more difficult to decide among smaller cities such as Buffalo, Fargo and Burlington, Vt. One woman called to say that we listed both Anchorage and Fairbanks in Alaska but not Oklahoma City, where she once lived. One caller couldn't understand why we no longer list Portland, Maine, instead of Portland, Ore. I tend to agree that maybe Fairbanks shouldn't be included but Portland, Ore. with its connection to our islands should stay. I'm not sure what to do about the father whose daughter is going to school in Raleigh and likes to check on her weather.

A bigger question was raised by two readers who obviously spend a good deal of time each day with our weather page: why run such a large map of O'ahu with the highs and lows at various locations such as Wai'anae, La'ie, Kane'ohe, Mililani, Kailua and Hawai'i Kai where the weather doesn't vary all that much?

Wrote one reader: "You replaced the Pacific region surface depiction of fronts, highs and lows from which I could determine forecasts and weather patterns on the east and west rims of the Pacific where I travel and have friends and family, with a picture of Oahu with information I already know just by looking out my front door."

Another reader, who describes himself as a "weather nut," said he also doesn't care much for the O'ahu weather map and wants the approaching fronts and disturbances in the Pacific.

"Imagine when hurricane season starts with it being far to the east can't tell how far it is or the direction it is moving," he wrote, suggesting that we run a satellite picture instead of our O'ahu map.

We will be reducing the size of our O'ahu map and will add something to show the various conditions in the Pacific, but probably not a static satellite map. We have already added a five-day forecast to the mix and are still mulling over our selection of cities. Needless to say, we know the weather page is important and will work until we get it closer to the way you want it.

Mark Platte is senior vice president and editor of The Advertiser. Reach him at 525-8080.