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National Weather Service out of Ruskin improving its Doppler radar | News

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National Weather Service out of Ruskin improving its Doppler radar
National Weather Service out of Ruskin improving its Doppler radar

Ruskin, Fla. -- The National Weather Service - Tampa Bay area - is located at 2525 14th Ave SE in Ruskin and is improving its Doppler radar serving West Central and Southwest Florida by installing the latest dual polarization technology.

Installation will begin Monday, Feb. 27 and will last approximately 12 days.

Organizers say this technology will give forecasters better information about heavy rainfall in flooding events, hail detection in thunderstorms, and even recognize whether precipitation is in the form of rain, snow or ice.

"This is the most significant upgrade to the nation's weather radar network since Doppler radar was first installed in the early 1990's and is a significant step toward us becoming weather ready," said Jack Hayes, director of the National Weather Service. "Dual polarization technology provides significantly more information and clearer pictures of current weather
conditions, helping National Weather Service meteorologists provide more accurate and timely forecasts."

Currently, National Weather Service Doppler radars provide forecasters information on precipitation intensity and movement (direction and speed). Dual polarization technology adds new information about the size and shape of airborne objects, which will improve estimates of how much rain is falling, improving flash flood detection and warnings.

During winter weather, dual polarization radar can tell the difference between rain, snow and ice, which gives forecasters a much better idea of what type of precipitation to expect
at the ground.

"This radar upgrade will help us provide better forecasts and warnings of flash flooding and severe thunderstorms for the residents of West Central and Southwest Florida," said Brian LaMarre, meteorologist-in-charge of the National Weather Service office in Ruskin, Florida.

During the upgrade, adjacent National Weather Service, Air Force, and Federal Aviation Administration weather radars will provide coverage. Installation of dual polarization technology in all 122 National Weather Service radars is expected to be completed in 2013.

Thirty-eight other operational WSR-88D systems, owned by the Air Force and FAA, will also be enhanced.

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