One Local Weather Radar is Receiving a Big Upgrade

A number of National Weather Service offices across the nation have been undergoing some big changes since the start of last year. And now, one local radar is next in line for a major upgrade.

We are no strangers to severe weather here in the Big Country. From hail to tornadoes. Most of us have seen it all. But there's a new technology that's helping meteorologists better detect the danger before it arrives.

The upgraded system is called "Dual-Pol" or "Dual Polarization." And the next radar to receive this technology is the Dyess Doppler Radar, located in southern Shackelford County.

While the current radar gives off a horizontal pulse to detect clouds and precipitation, the upgraded system will emit both a horizontal and vertical pulse.

This will not only help meteorologists distinguish between precipitation types and sizes, but the radar will also help to pick up non-meteorological return such as tornadic debris. Thus, allowing for confidence in issuing tornado warnings.

In addition to severe weather, dual pol also proves to be beneficial during floods.

"We'll be able to give a better forecast of heavy rain events," says Dr. Steve Lyons, Meteorologist in Charge at the NWS in San Angelo. "It's very good at delineating where the heaviest rain is occurring and how much. So our rainfall and flood forecasts, that usually are the ones that kill more people in the united states than anything else, will be better."

And while severe weather season is just around the corner, the upgrade to the Dyess radar couldn't arrive at a better time.

The National Weather Service office in San Angelo tells us the Dyess Doppler Radar should be back up and running by the start of April.

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