WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

What is the rationale behind "seven radar sweeps" as opposed to one?

Posted July 31, 2007

MIKE MOSS SAYS:     Wilson,   the main idea for showing the sweeps is to highlight the availability of near-real time data, including specialized information like radial velocity and storm-relative velocity displays, composite shear data and rainfall estimates, from a comprehensive network of radars around the region. The individual radars can be selected and zoomed in on in order to highlight storm cells or precipitation data in that region by scanning them with a nearby system, which makes resolution better, the beam closer to the ground, and the data generally more useful. For example, rain bands associated with a hurricane to our southeast might be resolved much better by using the Wilmington radar than by any of the radars around Raleigh (the local NWS Radar and our Doppler 5000) because the Raleigh beams are at quite a high altitude by the time they reach our coast. Also, seeing the sweeps verifies that the data is current and up to date, as a sweep will not show for a given radar if that site is out of service, down for maintenence, has a communication failure, etc.

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