Thursday, June 25, 2009

SPC Convective Outlook High Risk Day Research; Phased Array Radar

Over the past few days, I have looked at the SPC's convective outlook for them issuing High risk zones. Here are a few facts:

  • Total # of High Risk Days Issued (since recordings began in 1984): 77

  • Busted: 13

  • Small Events (could have been a MDT or Slight risk day and done well): 5

The February 5th Tornado Outbreak tied for the deadliest High Risk day ever since recordings began. So that tells you how rare that event was...

As far as busted outlooks go, in the past 8 years from 2001-now, the SPC has busted 8 times. Over the other past 17 years (from 1984-2000)...only 5 busted.

I bring that statistic up not to make the SPC look bad because they do a great job on issuing these outlooks (77 total with only 13 busts!), but that is a problem that when over the past 8 years, 8 events have not gone as predicted. But at the same time it is a good thing because lose of property and life didn't occur, but for forecasting was a bust and needs correcting

A new radar system called 'Phased Array Radar', is a newly developed system that will give you the same information the typical Doppler radar would, but in faster time. The researchers believe that with this new technology, they could increase warning times from the 10 minutes 18-22 minutes. That extra 8-12 minutes is very crucial even if it doesn't seem like much.

This system works with 6 different radar beams going out at once collecting data. While the convectional Doppler radar would just give out the one beam or "sweep" we see on TV. That would normally take 5 minutes to do. With these 6 beams all working cuts that new radar scan time down to 30 seconds. That is a huge difference!

They are also trying to develop a new product called 'Rotation Tracker' that will allow meteorologist to look at the increase or decrease in shear over time. Shear is a crucial, and key ingredient in the making of tornadoes. More info can be found on these projects at

1 comment:

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