First Warning Weather: Tracking storms in 3-D

By Andrew Freiden - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - When severe weather strikes, having the best technology counts.

That's why the First Warning Weather team is now able to show you enhanced images of a storm headed to your neighborhood. It's a clear picture that shows just how intense and dangerous a storm can be.

You are used to seeing radar in 2-D. The bright red colors show the heaviest rainfall, and the green color shows the lightest rain. That data used to be all you could see. But now there's more.

The new 3-D radar has to do with the way the atmosphere works. Our warmest air is at the surface, and our coldest air is high off the ground. That's easy to grasp if you think about this common picture: as you go higher on the mountain it gets colder.

Those tall storms can also produce the gustiest winds. That's because when heavy rain and hail fall to the ground they pull plenty of wind to the ground too.

New 3-D images are made by scanning the atmosphere at different levels. It's data you didn't see until now.

"The NWS radars have always been able to look into the clouds scanning different altitudes. Now we have technology that can make this graphically look very good, and also be useful to our viewers, and to the meteorologists," said NBC12 meteorologist Jim Duncan.

It's yet another tool that the First Warning Weather team uses to track storms to your neighbhorhood.

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