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After loosing smaller weather radar to tornadoes, Huntsville’s WAAF installs megawatt replacement

This time WAAF, the NBC affiliate in Huntsville, Ala., isn't taking any chances.

On April 27, 2011, an EF-5 tornado destroyed the station’s existing Doppler weather radar, during an unprecedented outbreak in North Alabama in which more than 60 tornadoes touched down. Determined to rebuild with the surrounding community, WAAF contracted with Baron Services and now, nearly a year later, has a new C-Band Doppler weather radar that is pumping out one million watts. That’s enough power to punch through hail cores and heavy rainfall to see what’s on the other side, according to Baron.

The new radar, with a solid-state modulator, is 110 feet tall with a 14ft. (diameter) dish and will interface with the station’s Baron FasTrac system for street-level storm tracking and real-time weather analysis.

Brad Travis, chief meteorologist at the station, said “The addition of this amazing weather tracking tool allows us to give our viewers even more advanced warning to keep them safe with the storms roll in.”

Baron said that the increased transmission strength allows the VHDD-1000C radar from Baron to capture higher-resolution data for both precipitation and winds, so WAFF’s meteorologists can analyze storms and winter weather systems in much better detail than they previously could. The radar uses short transmission bursts to dissect and analyze storms.

With one million watts (one megawatt), meteorologists using this radar can see storms farther away, and are therefore better able to provide viewers with earlier warnings of significant weather threats.

Baron Services is headquartered in Huntsville, with offices in Oklahoma, North Carolina and Florida.