Greensboro, NC -- There is a nationwide upgrade happening to the United States' radar system that will immediately help forecasters better warn about severe and potentially deadly storms.
This upgrade of individual radar sites across the United States takes the conventional radar, which operates in one dimension and enhances it to be able to see in two dimensions.
The new technology is called dual-polarization or dual-pol and it is expected to be completed across 160 sites by early 2013. The National Weather Service radar in Raleigh, North Carolina was recently upgraded in early November.
Dual-pol radar will enable forecasters to have higher confidence in what is heading your way. The technology will better distinguish between rain, snow, sleet and hail. It will also give forecasters a better indication of when a tornado is actually on the ground when surface reports are not readily available.
All of this added information will allow forecasters to better inform DOT crews, emergency managers and the general public on how to best prepare and respond to hazardous weather conditions.
The total cost of the project will be roughly $50 million. That breaks down to about $225,000 per radar. Researchers estimate, however, that this new technology will save the nation about $700 million dollars annually by reducing weather related damages.
More information about this upgrade is available through the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration's Dual-Polarization website.
WFMY News 2