WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

With the new DUALDoppler5000 has WRAL lost the HD ViPiR?

Posted October 2, 2007 10:53 a.m. EDT

MIKE MOSS SAYS:        Drew,      The HD VIPIR is a software system that we can use to display, in a pseudo-3D manner, any or all of seven different radar systems, either in near real-time sweeps or using time lapses, again of either individual sites or a mosaic of all seven. In addition, the system can display composite radar imagery that combines data from all National Weather Service radars in the U.S., and can also display additional information including satellite imagery, coastal buoy data, hurricane hunter reports and more. The seven regional radar systems that we can display on the VIPIR software include six NWS sites plus our own DUALDoppler5000, which recently replaced the original Doppler 5000 radar.

Our management folks decided that along with the change to the name DUALDoppler5000 for the new radar itself, we would start calling the VIPIR display "HD Doppler Network" on the air. So, although you don't see the name VIPIR anymore, we are still using the same display system. Note that we can actually display our radar data using two different software tools, one called VIPIR and the other FASTRAC. They provide some complementary capabilities as well as some capabilities that overlap. This gives us both a broader range of options in displaying the information, the ability to display radar data on two different broadcasts at once if needed, and also provides some backup capacity in case one or the other software or computer system is down for maintenance.

Here are a couple of clues to watch for as to when you are seeing the system we used to call VIPIR - if the radar image is tilted over for a somewhat 3-D appearance, or if you see lightning strikes indicated with white and yellow dots or (when tilted a bit) white and yellow lines, or you see multiple radar sweeps all going around at the same time, that is the VIPIR display. The FASTRAC software is typically used to show just one radar at a time, does not have views that look 3-D, and shows lightning strikes as colored "lightning bolt" symbols. It is also sometimes used to show storm reports (for example, red dots for tornadoes, green for hail, and blue for wind damage reports) in which a box can be popped up to show what kind of event occurred at a particular location. Both systems can display "storm tracks" showing a fan in which threatened communities are identified and the time of arrival of the storm is estimated.