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Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 11:15am

Technology Improves Weather Prediction

Updated: 2 years ago.
Dual polarization improves the efficiency of weather prediction radars. It also helps predict the size as well as the amount of precipitation on the way. (photo NWR)

The National Weather Service will be taking radar off its Savannah area website for a few weeks beginning early next month.

The doppler radars are getting upgrades as part of a nationwide switch to new technology.

Weather service officials say the switch to so called "dual-polorization" radars will increase forecast accuracy and speed warning times for severe weather alerts.

Meteorologist Michael Emlaw of the weather office in Charleston, which serves the Savannah area, says the new radars will better identify the size and the amount of rain and hail.

"The biggest advantages is that it will improve precipitation accuracy estimates because we'll have a better idea in terms of the size of the rain drops or hail stones," says Emlaw. "That's going to help with flash flood warnings."

The Charleston radar will go offline as early as November 5th, with other radars serving the state getting revamps just before or after.

Emlaw says the update will be useful to many.

"There's lots of businesses that use our radar data," says Emlaw. "A lot of times if they're doing outside work, they'll look at the radar and it'll determine if they'll do something or not do something."

People will now be able to depend on weather predictions more heavily.

The upgrades will cost the National Weather Service about $50 million.

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