Today we will discuss a few weather radar basics and weather radar websites.
So, why is the Doppler radar important? Without it, meteorologists would not be able to see what is going on inside a thunderstorm very well, nor would we be able to forecast the movement of a thunderstorm very precisely. The warnings would be less accurate, putting more people and property at risk during hazardous weather.
In this example, you can see a snapshot of Doppler radar data showing circulation at the time of the June 20th, 2010 Billings tornado. The Billings Doppler radar, labeled KBLX, is in the middle of the black circular region towards the left of the radar image, while the circulation is in the white circle.
How does the Doppler radar work?
In addition to weather stations the weather surveillance radar (WSR) is one of the most important tools the meteorologists use to provide a detailed forecast.
In essence the WSR works by shooting out pulses of electromagnetic energy at specific elevation angles above the ground. When these pulses of energy encounter an object in the atmosphere, such as a raindrop, hailstone or snowflake, part of the energy pulse bounces off of the object and returns to the receiver. This process is illustrated in the animation. The signal produced by the object is then sent to the signal processor, where it is turned into usable data, called base data, which we see as reflectivity and velocity. Reflectivity shows where precipitation is, while velocity information helps us identify rotation and strong winds within a storm, allows us to determine wind speed and direction behind a cold front and allows us to determine which direction and how fast an object in the atmosphere is moving.
The radar rotates 360 deg to capture one sweep. Multiple sweeps are required to build a layered inspection of the atmosphere, called a volume sweep, or volume coverage.
NEXTRAD is an enhanced Doppler Radar, having a greater range of 450 km, and higher resolution radar specification able to capture more detailed information.
The doper radar only transmits energy about 7 seconds out of every hour. The majority of the time it spend capturing energy.
Note that what the radar shows us is not necessarily what is reaching the ground. As the radar beam goes out from the radar, it continually rises in elevation. By the time this beam reaches a town it is well over 10,000 feet above the ground. The radar cannot detect precipitation or winds below the beam, which is why scientist relies on reports to give us some ground truth.
Best sites with radar data
There are a couple of www pages you can check to get an accurate weather radar data. All of them are animated, interactive, and have zoom out and zoom in capability, to let you choose a desired location. Some adoped additional layers – such as temperature, cloud coverage, and winds.
The Weather Channel and weather.com provide a national and local weather forecast for cities, as well as weather radar, report and hurricane coverage.
Their map is Bing based with additional coloring and layers.
Weather Underground has local & long range weather report with abundance of maps world climate conditions and personal weather station data.
National Weather Service
NWS is a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It’s the official U.S weather forecast service with information about meteorology, fire and aviation.
They provide high quality weather data to users all across United States. They equip one of the most advanced systems for forecasting weather. The work with businesses as well as weather enthusiasts.
accuweather, since intellicast sold out.
Intellicast WAS an great site for WEATHER. It is now Weather Underground which has an hard to view weather map.
It is obvious what is going on here…..the goal is to have you pay for decent weather service. Knowing the weather is an SAFETY issue and is required under civil responsibilities to keep accidents low. Citizens pay enough for Internet connectivity – it is absurd and unacceptable to expect payment for LOCAL news and weather information.
Yes, Intellicast WAS a helpful site. Lets hope that WU do justice to all the great maps Intellicast had.
I dont think they done very well.Just a couple tweaks,and more icons.Then Intellicast would it done better than Wunderground.
couldn’t agree more. Intellicast WAS a great site until about a month ago
Your comment may be valid but is extremely hard to get through initially. It would be helpful if you could edit out the word “an” and replace it with a simple “a”.
The Intellicast radar map was terrific. The Weather Underground replacement is an abomination. I’ve looked around ane WeatherBug’s radar looks good so far.
I miss intellicast radar. It was the best and most accurate. Weather underground stinks, looking for a better site.
Intellicast is one of the sites bought by IBM, that includes WU which it was combined with. IBM is developing high resolution radar predicting and hopefully will combine the best of everything I have mentioned. The Intellicast app had good wind flow real time mapping and them had marine mapping with local conditions. How could that get screwed up?
I miss Intellicast radar. It was the best and most accurate. Weather underground stinks, how disappointing.
Everyone here hit the nail on the head. Intellicast was wonderful and their new site sucks.
We all miss Intellacast.. Are you people all retarded? These maps stink !
Intellicast was my GO-TO weather site for at least the last 15 years. Now that it has been absorbed by Weather Underground, it is almost worthless. I seriously need a GOOD interactive radar site and with the spring time severe storms predicted, I need it soon !!!
check out this wx site. it gives the storm cell travel, etc, just like wunder map did YEARS ago. it WILL be my new goto map!
Intellicast was a wonderful site to make my observations on nys weather. This new system sucks
Agree with previous comments…I used to rely on Intellicast for flight planning; WU sucks and is too hard to maneuver.
Weathernation has a great radar site that is the closest to Intellicast that I have found. Let’s a switch to full screen and it is truly full screen with no ads. It is all i use now.
I agree with everyone on Intellicast, it worked great, refreshed without any pauses, and had zoom and map settings that wunderground can’t match. If you note the /wundermap, makes you wonder what map they are using..
I used intellicast at my job so that I could keep my lineman safe while out during storms. It also had great tracking on hurricanes for predicting if it would affect my area. Shame on you IBM! You have put lives at stake.