Improved Radar Technology Provides Better Look Into Ohio Storms

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The towering National Weather Service radar stands high above the fields of Wilmington in Clinton County.

The information it captures helps form 10TV weather forecasts each and every day.

NWS science operations officer Seth Binau became fascinated with the weather during the Derecho of 1980.

“July 5th and the sky to the west was as black as I had ever seen it,” recalled Binau.

Since then, he has seen the way technology has developed when it comes to forecasting the weather.

“The number of computer models we have, how advanced our radar networks are, how we've educated the public about the impacts of severe weather - it's completely different now,” said Binau.

There is now something new, the dual polarization radar upgrade.

Completed last August, the new technology allows forecasters to get a more accurate look at severe weather moving into your neighborhood.

Before this upgrade, radar sent only a horizontal beam of energy out. That beam would hit precipitation in a cloud and would then scatter back to the dish to create the colors on the radar.

“Now, we've added a second channel to the radar, so instead of sampling on a horizontal plane, we're also sampling on a vertical plane. That's the two pols, the dual pols,” explained Binau.

With both a vertical and horizontal look, forecasters are able to better see precipitation size, particle size and orientation.

It also means people across Ohio will have a better idea of what is coming their way.

“It's going to improve warnings. The detection of severe hail, I would say significantly, as we learn more about what severe hail looks like in the dual pol era,” added Binau.

The improvements in warnings and better forecasting will help keep central Ohio families safer during severe weather.

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