Saturday, September 24, 2016

Why Radar is Crucial in Flash Flood Situations

Here is some current data from the Kansas Mesonetwork (a special grouping of weather stations run by the State of Kansas).
I put a W over Wichita. The KS Mesonet is great. But, you could never have enough constantly reporting rain gages to make sense of data like this.

However, if you add the rain gage data to dual-polarization radar, it makes sense. Here is a radar measurement of rainfall that shows 1.15" over the mesonetwork site in southeast Sedgwick County. The turquoise and greens represent a narrow band of heavy rains (up to 2", so far) with much lighter rains in gray.
While dual-polarization data is excellent, it is not perfect. At AccuWeather, we use the radar and rain gage data to cross-check the other to insure accuracy.

By the way, to learn more, there is a great book on how meteorologists issue the critical storm warnings we all depend on.

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