Watch 'Weather That Changed the World'
From the Hindenburg disaster to the Challenger explosion, The Weather Channel's new series offers a dramatic take on historical moments.
Fri, Jun 07 2013 at 12:46 PM
Did Mother Nature blow up the Hindenburg and the Challenger and sink the Titanic? While weather conditions might not have been entirely to blame, they played a significant role in these disastrous events, according to the new Weather Channel series “Weather That Changed the World.” Premiering June 9, the nine-episode series uses dramatic footage, reconstructions, animations and expert testimonies to explain weather’s impact on historical events, including some that are more obscure but just as significant as the Titanic sinking and Hindenburg explosion, the latter the subject of the first episode. Executive producer Howard Sappington offers some insight into the series and the stories it covers.
MNN: Where did you get the idea for the series?
Howard Sappington: Weather has always played such a huge role in historic events. Many people are unaware of just how different our world would be had weather not significantly impacted certain battles, developments and scenarios. Weather's role in shaping the world is a perfect fit for our network.
What goal did you have in mind in telling history from a weather perspective?
Just how much weather can influence anything. Civilizations, borders and even the environment could be quite different now if certain weather conditions had not formed at precise times.
How did you decide which events to include?
We wanted to include events that people remember like the Challenger explosion and also include others that people might not be aware of. For example, if it hadn't been for a freak tornado in Washington, D.C., in 1812, our capital would probably have been destroyed. We could've actually had a different state as the capital.
We're all familiar with the Hindenburg and the Titanic, but some of others, less so. How do you bring something new to those familiar events and also get people excited about events they've never heard of?
With new information and new research. For example, new information suggests that a mirage might have played a large part in the Titanic sinking. With unfamiliar events, it's fascinating to realize how our world could be much different if weather hadn't played such a vital role. If there had never been a smog event in Donora, Pa., in 1948, it might have taken much longer for the clean air movement in the United States to gain a foothold. Also, wars would have had much different outcomes, and world boundaries and borders would look much different without certain weather events.
What are the most surprising things you learned about these events?
That Mother Nature is more powerful than all of man's technology and how weather really can impact not only everyday life but major events in history — it really can affect everything in one way or another.
If there is a second season, do you have events in mind to include?
If there is a second season, some of the events could include things like Amelia Earhart's disappearance, Roanoke — the lost colony — the Civil War mud march, Operation Desert Storm, and the Air Florida Potomac crash.
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