WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Improvements to radar images make it easier to track storms

Posted September 3, 2014

Regardless of the time of year, we’re never too far away from a chance of rain or thunderstorms here in central North Carolina. If you need to see where it’s raining and where the storms are headed, WRAL has you covered better than ever before with two big upgrades to WRAL.com.

Radar images

The upgrade you will likely notice first is an improvement to our county-by-county views of the DUALDoppler5000 data. We are now using more precise, higher-resolution data from the DUALDoppler5000 than we were able to before. Perhaps a bigger change is we’re now able to share the Live Fayetteville Doppler data with you in these images, whereas before, we had to rely on other sources for these maps.

The bottom line here is we can show you better where the rain is – and where it is not! We’ve also simplified the maps to make the detail in the radar data stand out more. In many cases, we’ve also added more towns to the maps, too, to help you find where you are relative to the rain.

You could see the difference in the data quality this afternoon. I took two samples of the data showing a storm over Fayetteville at nearly the same time. As you can see, the upgraded radar images are much cleaner than the older ones, highlighting the area of heaviest rain while showing just where it isn’t raining.

We will also be able to generate these maps more often than we were before. In fact, updates will come after every sweep of the radar. If we’re updating the radar data every minute, you’ll get a radar image every minute.

Live stream

The second upgrade is to the system we used to provide the live stream of both radars. It’s newer hardware running an updated operating system (so no more “please install updates” messages that were plaguing the old machine in its last few weeks). We’re also able to zoom in and out giving close up views of the Triangle and Fayetteville areas in addition to the broad central NC view. The views will change every 15 seconds. As with the still images, here, too, we’re able to leverage the data from both the DUALDoppler5000 and Live Fayetteville Doppler.

All of these upgrades were pushed out last week, but we’ve only recently had enough rain to test the improvements. We hope you enjoy them and find them more useful!


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