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Pinedale Online > News > October 2011 > Riverton NWS to enhance radar capabilities in November
Riverton NWS to enhance radar capabilities in November
Enhanced National Weather Service Radar to improve precipitation detection and rorecasting
by National Weather Service
October 28, 2011

The National Weather Service Doppler radar serving western and central Wyoming will be enhanced with the latest dual-polarization technology beginning November 7. Installation of the enhanced technology will take approximately two weeks. The dual-polarization enhancement will result in better estimation of precipitation amount, size, and type.

Dual-polarization radar technology can better detect heavy rainfall in flooding events, improve hail detection in thunderstorms, and improve classification of precipitation types(rain, snow, ice). It can also detect the presence of airborne tornado debris, giving a forecaster a high degree of confidence that a damaging tornado is occurring. This helps a forecaster confirm and track the location of a tornado, which is especially helpful at night when tornadoes are difficult to spot with the human eye.

"This is the most significant upgrade to the nation’s weather radar network since Doppler radar was first installed in the early 1990s," said Jack Hayes, director of NOAA’s 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."

Current National Weather Service radars provide forecasters information on precipitation intensity and movement (direction and speed). Dual-polarization technology adds new information about the size and shape of an object, 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 to expect at the ground.

"This radar upgrade will help us provide better forecasts of hazardous weather for the residents of western and central Wyoming," said Kevin Lynott, meteorologist-in-charge of the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Riverton, Wyo. Installation will begin on November 7, 2011, requiring the radar to be offline for about two weeks. Installation of dual-polarization technology in all 122 National Weather Service radars is expected to be completed in 2013. Thirty-eight other Doppler radars owned by the Air Force and Federal Aviation Administration will also be upgraded.

The National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts, and warnings for the United States and its territories. It operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy. Visit us online at and on Facebook.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources.

Related Links
  • NOAA
  • NOAA’s National Weather Service
  • National Weather Service in Riverton, Wyoming
  • Riverton Weather on Facebook
  • Dual Polarization Website
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