Faster weather warnings coming with new technology

The 1990s version of the Doppler radar was only able to give meteorologists horizontal measurements of precipitation. Now we’re able to look at both horizontal and vertical.  In 3D.  

Now, we are seeing what has been the biggest upgrade to Doppler radar in years its called Dual-Pol it produces new algorithms which make looking at rainfall amounts more accurate.

The biggest innovation is new tech tools that give meteorologists a new and much more accurate way to monitor severe weather.

Here’s what a tornado looks like during the velocity scan. The radar calculates vectors showing the green color as the wind coming toward the radar and a vector color of red moving away from the radar. Meteorologists can find a hook echo between these two wind vectors that indicate rotation within a storm which could possibly be a tornado.

The newest innovation with this radar upgrade is that it actually shows what’s called a debris ball.

The new algorithm will show us where the tornado is touching the ground and if it is creating a debris ball. It will also show us how long a tornado stays on the ground.

This is what the future of radar will look like. is called Phased Array it scans the atmosphere more than five times faster than what we see now because it has a flat antenna and a complete scan of the atmosphere can be done in thirty seconds rather than the current four to five minutes. This will make a huge difference in warning technology.

New software being tested will be able to calculate a tornado path up to an hour in advance instead of the current average of just 13 minutes.    This radar also has a much narrower bandwidth which means it can see many different parts of the storm in seconds instead of minutes and give meteorologists more tools to judge the magnitude and path of tornadoes before they become major storms.    

These new innovations fill in the blanks and answer questions about what is actually happening before and during a severe storm. They will give us advanced warning of up to one hour and will be able to judge the magnitude of a tornado and whether it will actually touchdown in our area.

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