Weather office gets new radar
SOUTH BURLINGTON — A new, state-of-the-art weather radar system that allows meteorologists to more accurately track, assess and warn the public of potentially dangerous approaching storms was unveiled Monday by U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy and officials with the Vermont office of the National Weather Service.
The installation of the dual polarization radar system in Vermont marks the half-way point in upgrading weather radar systems across the country.
Officials say the upgrade is the most significant enhancement of the nation’s weather radar network since Doppler radar was first installed in the early 1990s. The upgrade includes new software and a hardware attachment to the radar dish that allows it to send horizontal and vertical pulses, which provide a more informative two-dimensional picture about the size and shape of objects.
It enables meteorologists to determine if the object is rain, snow, hail or birds.
“The new radar technology has many benefits including better rainfall estimates which will help us to make better decisions about when to issue a flash flood warning,” said Andy Nash, meteorologist-in-charge of the Burlington office. “In the winter, the radar will help us pinpoint where rain turns to snow, sleet or freezing rain, subsequently improving short-term forecasts.”
Leahy said the system will help Vermont be better prepared for the next Tropical Storm Irene or other storm.
“The new radar technology will help (The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) National Weather Service keep a sharper eye on the sky, leading to better forecasts and warnings for Vermonters,” Leahy said.