NWS radar upgrade complete across the country

Dual-polarization radar helps tell the difference between raindrops and debris

NWS radar upgrade complete across the country

NEWPORT, CARTERET COUNTY - April showers bring May flowers, but the radar tracks the rain.  The National Weather Service in Carteret County is one of the 151 office across the country equipped with the new dual-polarization radar.  One benefit to the upgrade is that it will help meteorologists differentiate between types of precipitation.

"Looking at the shape, we can distinguish between rain, hail, snow and sleet," said science and operations officer, Karin Goodall-Gosnell.

The NWS in Newport was the first office on the East Coast to get the upgrade.  A few months later, they were able to test the new technology on Hurricane Irene.

"We were able to see the tropical tornadoes better with these fields.  The precip estimates were much improved," said Goodall-Gosnell.

The old radar sent out pulses of energy only in the horizontal field.  The new dual-pol radar sends out beams in the horizontal and vertical.

"In a tornado situation, we can sometimes see tornadic debris signatures where the radar is picking up on dirt, debris from homes, leaves and tree limbs," said NWS meteorologist, Andrew McKaughan.

This recent upgrade gets the National Weather Service closer to its goal of transforming the US into a weather-ready nation.

"It's basically our way of trying to reach out to the community and try to ensure that people are aware of the threats of severe weather," said McKaughan.

The dual-pol radar creates two-fold benefits improving science and safety.

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