Doppler radar undergoing major upgrade - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Doppler radar undergoing major upgrade

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

We all know the importance of storm warnings and the recent tornadoes that hit Hattiesburg, Miss., and Adairsville, Ga., are perfect examples of how recent upgrades to area Doppler radar systems can help save lives.

This new radar technology is called dual polarization and while many weather radar sites across the country already have this new technology at work, Southwest Louisiana's radar located in Lake Charles is in the process now of undergoing this major upgrade.

According to Andy Patrick, Meteorologist-In-Charge at the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Lake Charles, this new radar upgrade will provide better knowledge of whether a storm detected is producing hail versus very heavy rainfall. This will improve the lead time in warning the public during a flash flood event.

Other objects such as debris being blown around inside a tornado will now be able to be detected with some of the new radar products thanks to this upgrade.

This new radar technology will be extremely useful in confirming a tornado on the ground especially if it hits a rural area after dark where visual confirmation by human eyes might be difficult or impossible.

Patrick said this is another stage in the process of fine tuning our radar technology to better inform the public to the weather hazards that come about in our area.

The KPLC 7 Stormteam, along the public, will also have access to view these new radar products, which will help us improve the information we pass along to the public in a severe weather situation.

The upgrade to the radar is now complete, and data began flowing again by late Wednesday afternoon. 

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