National Weather Service to upgrade NEXRAD radar system

October 12, 2007

The National Weather Service (NWS) has offered a team of vendors a $43 million contract to upgrade 171 NEXRAD radar stations operated by the weather agency, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Department of Defense, with dual polarimetric radar.

Baron Services in Huntsville, AL, one of the vendors in the group headed by L3 Communications, will supply its dual polarimetric radar, which sends out vertical and horizontal polarized beams, giving meteorologists twice the data they get from other systems. The system provides accurate information about the location and type of precipitation that’s falling.

Six TV stations currently use the dual polarimetric radar, including WHNT-TV in Huntsville, AL; KRIV-TV in Houston; WNYW-TV in New York City; WWOR-TV in Secaucus, NJ; WRAL-TV in Raleigh, NC; and WFLD-TV in Chicago.

The NWS NEXRAD upgrade will take place throughout the next five years. Eventually, stations throughout the country will be able to take advantage of the improved accuracy of the upgraded system.

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