Radars Down for Maintenance During a Severe Weather Outbreak! (Photo Credit: National Weather Service)
Today, April 5, 2017, three radars located in southern Georgia and southeastern Alabama are inoperable due to a lightning strike and regular maintenance. Unfortunately, with the severe weather outbreak already in place, forecasters response times will be delayed. Meteorologists are having to rely on their ground level support from law enforcement and trained weather spotters to report severe weather.
Meteorologists can handle one radar being down, however when three in the same region are down, they have to rely on other radars from a further distance. Other radars around the region can detect storms, but only from a certain radius. The signal leaves the radar at an incline, making further storms harder to see closer to the surface. When a storm is too far from a functioning radar, meteorologists cannot see surface features such as rotation and debris signatures. Forecasters will continue to convey warnings, but the warnings will not be radar indicated. Radar indication means the radar has picked up rotation and either a tornado is in progress or is imminent. Radars being inoperable makes sending out warnings challenging because forecasters cannot see the storm throughout its cycle.
During a severe weather outbreak, radars are essential and when they are not available, people need to stay alert so they know when to take cover. Given that there’s the potential for these radars to be down during the duration of this event, it’s imperative that people remain cognizant and aware of their immediate weather conditions to take cover when necessary.
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ⓒ 2017 Meteorologist Brandie Cantrell