NWS to upgrade Binghamton radar

NOAA’s National Weather Service is improving its Doppler radar serving central New York, the Catskills and northeast Pennsylvania by installing the latest dual polarization technology in their Binghamton, New York radar. This technology will give forecasters better information about heavy rainfall in flooding events, hail detection in thunderstorms, and even recognize whether precipitation is in the form of rain, snow, or ice. In some situations, it can also detect the presence of airborne tornado debris, giving forecasters confirmation of an ongoing damaging tornado, which is especially helpful if the tornado is impossible to see with the human eye.“This is the most significant upgrade to the nation’s weather radar network since Doppler radar was first installed in the early 1990s and is a significant step toward us becoming weather ready,” said Jack Hayes, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “Dual polarization technology provides significantly more information and clearer pictures of current weather conditions, helping National Weather Service meteorologists provide more accurate and timely forecasts.”Currently, National Weather Service Doppler radars provide forecasters information on precipitation intensity and movement (direction and speed). Dual polarization technology adds new information about the size and shape of airborne objects, which will improve estimates of how much rain is falling, improving flash flood detection and warnings. During winter weather, dual polarization radar can tell the difference between rain, snow and ice, which gives forecasters a much better idea of what type of precipitation to expect at the ground.“This radar upgrade will help us provide better forecasts and warnings of all precipitation types for the residents of upstate New York and northeast Pennsylvania,” said Barbara Watson, meteorologist-in-charge of the National Weather Service’s Binghamton forecast office. Installation begins Monday, April 2nd, and will last approximately 7 days. During the upgrade, adjacent National Weather Service, and Air Force weather radars will provide coverage. Installation of dual polarization technology in all 122 National Weather Service radars is expected to be completed in 2013. Thirty-eight other operational WSR-88D systems, owned by the Air Force and FAA, will also be enhanced.NOAA’s National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. NOAA’s National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy. Working with partners, NOAA’s National Weather Service is building a Weather-Ready Nation to support community resilience in the face of increasing vulnerability to extreme weather. Visit us online at weather.gov and on Facebook.

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