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New Radar Tested For The Weather Biz

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It's a radar that will help meteorologists tell us what weather is coming and it will bring us that information at lightning speed. News On 6 anchor Jennifer Loren reports it's a tool that will help meteorologists save lives.

Armed with a passion for forecasting, meteorologists from the Tulsa-area got a first look at what's to come. A highly-advanced radar is being tested for the first time in Oklahoma. It's called the Phased Array Radar.

"We are really the first people to start looking at this technology for weather so it's really in its infancy," said Dr. Pam Heinselman.

But, the radar is not new technology. It's actually been used by our military for aircraft surveillance since the 1970s.

"We just take the radar and we developed ways of scanning storms which is different than how you would scan for a target like that. So we've just adapted it to be useful for weather," said Dr. Pam Heinselman.

According to The News On 6 Warn Team meteorologists, the radar will be more than useful.

"It's really a quantum leap forward. At least, it appears to be the case right now in terms of what we're able to do right now," said News On 6 meteorologist Dick Faurot.

Right now, meteorologists use radars that physically turn to scan 360 degrees. Each scan takes about four minutes which means meteorologists wait that long to see how storms are developing. The Phased Array Radar doesn't need to turn. It's stationary and, therefore, much faster bringing updates every minute. And, in a tornado, time is of the essence.

"Means better warnings, more timely warnings and more specific warnings and more lead time. In other words, that could be a life or death difference," said News On 6 meteorologist Dick Faurot.

The radar comes with a long list of pros and one con. It won't be available for at least ten years.

"It's a good ways down the road, but a very exciting adventure and a lot of potential for helping to warn the public," said Dr. Pam Heinselman.

 

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