Radar Holes

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Has anyone else noticed the massive radar hole in the eastern Red River Valley region? After the recent tornado in Idabel, OK and surrounding areas, I would think that it has come to show that this radar hole is kind of a problem. And I mean that for anyone who was watching that series of storms go through on November 4th. The radar gets pretty choppy from any surrounding station around that region where Idabel is. You would think they could put one in Texarkana, Idabel, or even Hugo I guess. But I've noticed over the years that a lot of sever weather rolls through that region. The radar available seems too distant to really be of good use if its so far away from that region I'm mentioning. I would think the radar would be shooting too high up into a storm in the Idabel region and wouldn't give radar sweeps of the base of a storm (just due to curvature of the Earth).

What does it take to build a radar station in a town? Why is there not one in that region already? Is there something I'm unaware of?

Thanks.
 
Feb 19, 2021
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This very week the City of Durant and Choctaw Nation are erecting a new radar on the west side of Durant. The radar is C-band with a better than 1° beamwidth and pretty powerful. The data will be shared with the NWS but is it seems to be a mystery as to their plans (if any) to share with anyone else.

In my perfect world, the radar would be on the east side of Hugo, this is still an improvement given it is the #1 radar gap in the USA.

More on this topic: Why We Need Gap-Filler Radars

P.S. A C-band radar costs ~$600,000 not including the tower, electricity, etc. An -88 is extremely expensive but there are better alternatives that are less expensive.
 
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This very week the City of Durant and Choctaw Nation are erecting a new radar on the west side of Durant. The radar is C-band with a better than 1° beamwidth and pretty powerful. The data will be shared with the NWS but is it seems to be a mystery as to their plans (if any) to share with anyone else.

In my perfect world, the radar would be on the east side of Hugo, this is still an improvement given it is the #1 radar gap in the USA.

More on this topic: Why We Need Gap-Filler Radars

P.S. A C-band radar costs ~$600,000 not including the tower, electricity, etc. An -88 is extremely expensive but there are better alternatives that are less expensive.
Why would the NWS consider not sharing that stations data to the public?
 
Feb 19, 2021
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Why would the NWS consider not sharing that stations data to the public?

Hi Cameron, the short answer is that it is not their data to share. The radar is being funded, as I understand it, by the City of Durant and Choctaw Nation. They will own the data and they will decide whether to share it.

Remember: there are costs associated with sharing. The NWS will insist on a dedicated, secure link. EM's in the area will want the data.In order to accommodate the rest of us, they will need to set up the equipment and bandwidth (which are not free).

I'm certainly hoping they will make it available but they are not talking about it at this point. I've even emailed the Durant people and did not receive a reply which is what I understand is the response others have received.
 
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Feb 19, 2021
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The purpose of the radar is to protect Durant, Bryan County,. and nearby Choctaw areas. Their EM('s) will be looking at the data as will the NWS. It is entirely possible that they will not want the hassle of dealing with anyone outside of that circle.

It is possible they will try to sell the data but whether anyone will want to purchase it is another matter. They may wish to give it away as a public service.
 
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rdale

EF5
Mar 1, 2004
7,490
1,057
21
52
Lansing, MI
skywatch.org
From the city's bid proposal:

Data obtained by this radar shall not be proprietary and shall be the property of the City of Durant, Oklahoma to be shared with partners and stakeholders. The data formats shall include NEXRAD msg31 level2 format which can be accepted by the Gibson Ridge
GR2Analyst software.

They can very easily allow IAState / AllisonHouse to pick that up and disseminate if they so choose. But it's their data==their choice.
 
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Jamie H

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Feb 25, 2022
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From this side of the ocean, who would be responsible for the cost? It would seem obvious that central government should fund it, but does it actually fall on individual states to do so?
 
Feb 19, 2021
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From this side of the ocean, who would be responsible for the cost? It would seem obvious that central government should fund it, but does it actually fall on individual states to do so?
In a rational world, the U.S. federal government would do it as protecting the population from interstate threats is a basic role of our government. Congress wanted to give the money to the NWS (a congressional committee asked me to put together a report on where twenty or so radars would be most needed, which I did). After laying the groundwork, in a rational world the National Weather Service would say, "thank you for helping to better do our jobs" but the NWS didn't want the radars: https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2020/11/21/radar-gaps-weather-service/ .

So, a few localities over the decades (Lubbock, TX was the first, I believe) have taken matters into their own hands and funded their own, usually after a major tornado occurs.
 
In a rational world, the U.S. federal government would do it as protecting the population from interstate threats is a basic role of our government. Congress wanted to give the money to the NWS (a congressional committee asked me to put together a report on where twenty or so radars would be most needed, which I did). After laying the groundwork, in a rational world the National Weather Service would say, "thank you for helping to better do our jobs" but the NWS didn't want the radars: https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2020/11/21/radar-gaps-weather-service/ .

So, a few localities over the decades (Lubbock, TX was the first, I believe) have taken matters into their own hands and funded their own, usually after a major tornado occurs.
Why would the NWS not want the radars?
 
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Why would the NWS not want the radars?
You've got me!

There are two possible explanations:
  • NWS was told by the Office and Management and Budget to say no for budgetary reasons but I cannot imagine that is the case. My DC friends who are in a position to know say that is not true.
  • NWS thinks, even if they got extra money for maintenance, that managing 20 additional radars, in distant locations from their offices, was just too much trouble. For example, a radar in Paris, TX is a l-o-n-g way from any of their existing offices.
The NWS these days has many, many issues. They don't seem to be able to focus on their core mission and, as a result, tornado warnings are less accurate than they were a dozen years ago. The GFS is significantly inferior to the ECMWF and UKMET with no sign of the gap closing; that contributed to subpar warnings of Hurricane Ian. I could go on but those are sufficient to make my point.
 
You've got me!

There are two possible explanations:
  • NWS was told by the Office and Management and Budget to say no for budgetary reasons but I cannot imagine that is the case. My DC friends who are in a position to know say that is not true.
  • NWS thinks, even if they got extra money for maintenance, that managing 20 additional radars, in distant locations from their offices, was just too much trouble. For example, a radar in Paris, TX is a l-o-n-g way from any of their existing offices.
The NWS these days has many, many issues. They don't seem to be able to focus on their core mission and, as a result, tornado warnings are less accurate than they were a dozen years ago. The GFS is significantly inferior to the ECMWF and UKMET with no sign of the gap closing; that contributed to subpar warnings of Hurricane Ian. I could go on but those are sufficient to make my point.
Lol. Thank you for your input and what you know. How could the NWS tornado reports be declining in quality? Lack of personnel?

Maybe I'll start a new thread called, "Opinions on The Quality of Work Performed at The NWS?" lol.

I personally have no idea what the work environment/ethic/quality is like in the NWS. I'm in construction. But to hear from those who DO know would add value to StormTrack surely.
 
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Cameron: I wrote this for the tenth anniversary of JLN. The NWS's own stats show the deterioration: https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2021/05/21/joplin-tornado-warning-improvement-nws/

Since then, we have had a number of EF-3 intensity tornadoes that were poorly warned.
You can search my blog for other stories about unwarned strong tornadoes but the two above are pretty typical.

The situation has gotten bad enough that I have been calling for a National Disaster Review Board, modeled after the National Transportation Safety Board, to not just review the NWS but also FEMA, Red Cross, EM's and all associated with major weather-related disasters.

While this is an interesting topic, I do not wish to continue it because I do not want to sound like I am beating up on the agency. There are tremendously dedicated and talented people at the NWS and I want them to be hugely successful with their core mission.
 
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Sep 26, 2022
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Allendale, Michigan
Cameron: I wrote this for the tenth anniversary of JLN. The NWS's own stats show the deterioration: https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2021/05/21/joplin-tornado-warning-improvement-nws/

Since then, we have had a number of EF-3 intensity tornadoes that were poorly warned.
You can search my blog for other stories about unwarned strong tornadoes but the two above are pretty typical.

The situation has gotten bad enough that I have been calling for a National Disaster Review Board, modeled after the National Transportation Safety Board, to not just review the NWS but also FEMA, Red Cross, EM's and all associated with major weather-related disasters.

While this is an interesting topic, I do not wish to continue it because I do not want to sound like I am beating up on the agency. There are tremendously dedicated and talented people at the NWS and I want them to be hugely successful with their core mission.
Just wanted to clear something up, could it have something to do with the fact these happened in areas where tornadoes of this rating are not common? the 2 you listed were in Michigan and Pennsylvania. those offices will have the knowledge about tornadoes yet have not experienced them.

another thing to point out, Obviously it's not the NWS's fault for their current radar problems.
I really hope it does not come down to some large outbreak or a single mass casualty tornado happening to have the feds provide the funding to Update the current radars or put in some new ones. that has happened before, and at this rate it will happen again and continue to happen unless things change. Any kind of radar is better than none at all.
As someone who Knows a lot historically, The fact we have these problems is ridiculous and little is being done by the people who can while the people who cant are trying desperately as possible to get it fixed.
 
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Gavin,

could it have something to do with the fact these happened in areas where tornadoes of this rating are not common? the 2 you listed were in Michigan and Pennsylvania. those offices will have the knowledge about tornadoes yet have not experienced them.
The problem is not confined to states where tornadoes are less frequent. Here is an unwarned EF-3 from Kansas: The Truth of The (Non-) Warning of the Eureka, Kansas, Tornado

Obviously it's not the NWS's fault for their current radar problems.
Whose responsibility is it? Isn't it their job to run the national radar network?

I really hope it does not come down to some large outbreak or a single mass casualty tornado
We've already had the mass casualty tornado: Joplin on May 22, 2010. One hundred sixty-one people died due to a terrible failure of both the NWS and local emergency management. If you care to read my short book on that horrible storm, it can be downloaded here: "Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather" , Smith, Mike - Amazon.com or you can borrow it from the library.

The NWS is working on a whole new national radar network.
They've been "working" on it since the aught's. They are not meaningfully closer now than they were 15 years ago.
 
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Sep 26, 2022
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The problem is not confined to states where tornadoes are less frequent. Here is an unwarned EF-3 from Kansas: The Truth of The (Non-) Warning of the Eureka, Kansas, Tornado
It is true that it is not localized, I may actually look into the policies for each office, just to see if that played a role.

Whose responsibility is it? Isn't it their job to run the national radar network?
YES. it is their responsibility to run them....and it's NOAA's and the DOC's responsibility to support them since the NWS is in that department. which means this problem is the fault of MANY. not just the NWS.

We've already had the mass casualty tornado: Joplin on May 22, 2010. One hundred sixty-one people died due to a terrible failure of both the NWS and local emergency management. If you care to read my short book on that horrible storm, it can be downloaded here: "Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather" , Smith, Mike - Amazon.com or you can borrow it from the library.
It is true that Joplin caused Some of the problems to be exposed. BUT the problem is NOT fixed in the slightest. And that happened over a decade ago now, and we have not had a event like that since then except for a couple select times. Surely things would have been fixed by now if they tried right? Wrong. they are STILL making the same mistakes, and its only a matter of time until another Joplin happens.
 

rdale

EF5
Mar 1, 2004
7,490
1,057
21
52
Lansing, MI
skywatch.org
BUT the problem is NOT fixed in the slightest. And that happened over a decade ago now, and we have not had a event like that since then except for a couple select times. Surely things would have been fixed by now if they tried right? Wrong. they are STILL making the same mistakes, and its only a matter of time until another Joplin happens.
Remember Gavin we've discussed in the past that you're in the learning stage. Take advantage of this time to read and digest information, and not pass blame on people for a process you don't understand in a field you have no education or training.

Another Joplin certainly will happen, but that's because tornadoes are not perfectly predictable. I assume you are reply to something Mike said - but actual severe weather experts know his claims are not valid. Don't get caught up in them.
 
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Feb 19, 2021
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Another Joplin certainly will happen, but that's because tornadoes are not perfectly predictable. I assume you are reply to something Mike said where he probably claimed that had he been in charge of the WFO and EM then no deaths would occur, but realize he's stretching the truth in order to sell books. Actual severe weather experts know his claims are not valid. Don't get caught up in them.
The above is utterly false, Rob. I've never said nor written anything close to the above.
  1. There is no reason whatsoever for another tornado that was that obvious to be unwarned of.
  2. There is no reason whatsoever for an emergency manager to sound the sirens in Joplin when there is no tornado warning for Joplin and then not re-sound them when a tornado warning is actually issued.
  3. A tornado of the strength of JLN's in a city with that density of population would clearly have caused double-digit deaths. Triple digits had not been seen in the USA in the tornado warning era. That is a sign that the warnings were utterly ineffective and wrong.
  4. I went to JLN -- three times -- and conducted interviews for my book, including at a Chamber of Commerce meeting. These very smart people told me, to a man and to a woman, they had "no idea" a tornado was headed for JLN. They thought the tornado was going to the north. They thought that the tornado was going to the north because that is what the NWS explicitly told them.
  5. If you, for once, would read what I write before commenting, you'll see I suggested he could go to the library. That is a free way to read the book and I get no revenue if anyone decides to do so.
This is a false, personal attack. Moderators?
 

rdale

EF5
Mar 1, 2004
7,490
1,057
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Lansing, MI
skywatch.org
Yeah Dale. Did you even read his articles.
Yeah E, I did. I actually teach a tornado awareness class across the country using the Joplin case as the basis.

He seems like a fairly intelligible fella.
He's very smart! He developed a business from the ground up that provided great alert and warning tools for businesses and sold it off to AccuWeather. Not many can do that, and you have to be somewhat intelligent I'd say :)

You can't just say "Actual severe weather experts know his claims are not valid," without expanding on that claim.
I can because they have been debunked many times. He's never been a NWS met, he's never worked in a WFO, he's never been an emergency manager, and never had to press the button for the siren. But he does write a good book and he does promote it well.

Were mistakes made in Joplin? Massive ones. If he was running the WFO and the EOC would he have been able to save dozens more lives? There's no evidence to validate that, and again I refer you to the fact that he's never worked in a WFO or EOC to begin with as a sign :)

My reply was intended to tone Gavin down, as he has a great passion for weather but no background - and when you make accusations like that, which are permanently recorded, it can come back to haunt him.
 
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