WSR-88D Dual-Polarization Update Schedule

One of the unique capabilities of WeatherWall Mobile is the ability to view the dual-polarization products from the newly upgraded WSR-88Ds (Weather Surveillance Radar). So of course this begs the question of when will the updates be coming to a radar near you? Well here is the list of radars that have already been upgraded:

Radar Site Upgrade Completion Date
Vance AFB, OK (KVNX) March 4th, 2011
Phoenix, AZ (KIWA) June 5th, 2011
Morehead City, NC (KMHX) June 26th, 2011
Wichita, KS (KICT) July 17th, 2011
Pittsburgh, PA (KPBZ) July 17th, 2011

You might think this a random order for the radars to be upgraded in but it turns out to make a lot of sense. The radars that have been upgraded first are ones where a lot of research has been done on quality control and precipitation estimation. This plays a key role as the driving force behind the upgrades has largely been claims of improvement to rain estimates. The Phoenix area has been the focus of initial precipitation estimation work as the power provider in that region, the Salt River Project, has been very forward thinking in sponsoring hydrology related research.

Likewise, the Tar River in North Carolina is subject to one of the National Severe Storms Laboratory’s main hydrometeorology projects, CI-FLOW. This project is focused on total water levels from combined river flooding and storm surge during a hurricane. The forcing mechanism behind some of the models is radar rainfall estimates and so it makes sense to prioritize the dual-pol upgrade of the Morehead City, NC weather radar.

As the NWS gets more familiar with the dual-pol upgrade process the upgrading of radars will accelerate. Currently they are being upgraded 1 or 2 at a time but this should accelerate to 3 or more at a time through the end of this year and into next year as all of the radars are eventually updated. Here is the upgrade schedule for the rest of 2011:

Radar Site Upgrade Start Date Expected Completion Date
Spokane, WA (KOTX) September 12th, 2011 September 25th, 2011
Seattle, WA (KATX) September 26th, 2011 October 9th, 2011
Pendleton, OR (KPDT) September 26th, 2011 October 9th, 2011
Portland, OR (KRTX) October 10th, 2011 October 23rd, 2011
Chicago, IL (KLOT) October 17th, 2011 October 30th, 2011
Billings, MT (KBLX) October 24th, 2011 November 6th, 2011
Riverton, WY (KRIW) November 7th, 2011 November 20th, 2011
Cleveland, OH (KCLE) November 28th, 2011 December 11th, 2011
Goodland, KS (KGLD) November 28th, 2011 December 11th, 2011
Grand Rapids, MI (KGRR) November 28th, 2011 December 11th, 2011
Atlanta, GA (KFFC) December 5th, 2011 December 18th, 2011
Memphis, TN (KNOA) December 5th, 2011 December 18th, 2011

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