The WAAY 31 StormTracker Early Warning Radar Network: Dual Polarity Radar features allow for enhanced forecasting

The WAAY 31 Storm Tracker Early Warning Radar Network features dual polarization radar. This will allow our team to use products such as the Correlation Coefficient to provide more accurate, up-to-date information during severe weather, allowing you and your family to get to your safe place faster than ever before.

Posted: Oct 14, 2020 7:31 AM

The advancement of radar technology has been invaluable in improving meteorologists' ability to deliver accurate forecasts and tracking storms in real time.

One of the most significant radar advancements in recent memory was the development of dual polarization radar. The WAAY 31 Storm Tracker Early Warning Radar Network features dual polarity.

ADDITIONAL COVERAGE

The three Doppler radars that make up the WAAY 31 StormTracker Early Warning Radar Network is the only radar system that can cover every square inch of North Alabama and provide earlier warnings with precise, real-time accuracy that can see storms other radars miss. Other radar systems, including the National Weather Service, have significant gaps in their radar coverage areas to see storms closer to the ground. With Doppler radars located in Muscle Shoals, the Decatur-Huntsville area, and Guntersville, the WAAY 31 Storm Tracker Early Warning Radar Network is the largest privately-held weather radar system in the United States.

Before dual polarization, weather radars only transmitted one pulse of energy to detect targets. This pulse is oriented horizontally and only provides details about the size of a target. With the addition of dual polarization, a second pulse is oriented vertically and is transmitted in addition to the original horizontal pulse.

The graphics below show how a typical radar with a horizontal pulse works, while the dual pol radar (second image) transmits and receives horizontally and vertically.

IMAGES COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE

This now provides meteorologists details on the shape of things it detects in addition to size. This additional information gives meteorologists more insight into what is occurring during active weather.

Improved Ability to Forecast

With dual polarization radar, meteorologists now have an improved ability to forecast flash flooding. They can also better discern specific precipitation types, such as between heavy rain and hail, or between snow and sleet.

Dual polarization radar also provides better detection of aircraft icing conditions. And perhaps the most significant development and benefit with the use dual polarization radar is the ability to detect non-meteorological items, such as insects, birds, or even more importantly, tornado debris.

IMAGE COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE

Benefits of Dual Pol Technology

  • Improved accuracy of precipitation estimates, leading to better flash flood detection
  • Ability to discern between heavy rain, hail, snow, and sleet
  • Improved detection of non-meteorological echoes (e.g. ground clutter, chaff, anomalous propagation, birds, and tornado debris)
  • Detection of aircraft icing conditions
  • Identification of the melting layer (e.g. bright band)

The Debris Tracker

Here is a radar image from a tornado-producing storm near Columbus, Mississippi on February 23, 2019. This radar image is from the Correlation Coefficient product, better known as the "Debris Tracker." This product examines how uniform radar targets are in size and shape. Warmer colors indicate a strong correlation while cooler colors suggest that something on radar looks different from normal precipitation.

Notice the very dark blue and gray circle just to the northeast of Columbus. This circle is indicating that what is being detected by radar is not actual precipitation. Given that a Tornado Warning was issued for this storm, meteorologists could quickly conclude this was debris being lofted from a tornado on the ground.

Without dual polarization radar, the only way meteorologists can confirm a tornado touchdown is through public reports.

WAAY 31 Storm Tracker Early Warning Radar Network

The WAAY 31 Storm Tracker Early Warning Radar Network features dual polarization radar. This will allow our team to use products such as the Correlation Coefficient to provide more accurate, up-to-date information during severe weather, allowing you and your family to get to your safe place faster than ever before.

Huntsville
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 63°
Florence
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 64°
Fayetteville
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 64°
Decatur
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 61°
Scottsboro
Overcast
63° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 63°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22563372
Mobile14335314
Tuscaloosa10023133
Montgomery9759196
Madison904893
Shelby709960
Lee644966
Baldwin640569
Marshall428248
Calhoun412759
Etowah405749
Morgan396833
Houston364632
DeKalb319628
Elmore310752
St. Clair282142
Limestone270828
Walker268892
Talladega258435
Cullman227623
Lauderdale208740
Autauga201029
Jackson200915
Franklin199731
Colbert192228
Russell19053
Dallas185627
Blount184824
Chilton181731
Escambia171328
Coffee16669
Covington166029
Dale163451
Pike130512
Chambers130143
Tallapoosa128686
Clarke127117
Marion104729
Butler99840
Barbour9889
Marengo97221
Winston90413
Geneva8417
Pickens80517
Lawrence80031
Randolph79814
Bibb79114
Hale74529
Cherokee72214
Clay71912
Lowndes70127
Henry6376
Bullock63517
Monroe6319
Washington62212
Crenshaw59330
Perry5806
Wilcox55912
Conecuh55713
Fayette55312
Cleburne5287
Macon52820
Sumter46721
Lamar4565
Choctaw38712
Greene33916
Coosa1973
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 233569

Reported Deaths: 2952
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby34523553
Davidson29914326
Knox1193687
Hamilton11197103
Rutherford11090106
Williamson665649
Sumner5664107
Wilson443153
Putnam415653
Montgomery387251
Out of TN377535
Unassigned37264
Madison363079
Bradley343421
Sullivan324845
Sevier317321
Blount313932
Washington313244
Maury308135
Robertson249839
Hamblen233843
Tipton220622
Gibson205938
Dyer203726
Hardeman179532
Coffee177420
Trousdale17437
Obion164918
Bedford159620
Dickson157318
Fayette157022
Anderson156713
Greene156551
Wayne15657
Loudon155010
McMinn152232
Cumberland150124
Lawrence147918
Jefferson146619
Weakley144425
Carter142832
Monroe137027
Henderson136125
Warren135110
Hardin132219
Lauderdale131918
Macon126324
Franklin122816
Roane12017
Haywood119526
Overton113311
Johnson11067
Hawkins110524
White110214
Carroll109424
McNairy109126
Marshall10568
Rhea104916
Cheatham97311
Lake9703
Smith94713
Cocke92612
Bledsoe9244
Giles90134
Campbell8857
Fentress8618
Lincoln8142
Crockett78321
Henry74610
Hickman74413
Chester71314
Marion7089
DeKalb67716
Decatur62811
Grainger5394
Grundy5248
Claiborne5046
Union4992
Polk47413
Jackson4225
Humphreys4154
Morgan4116
Houston39215
Benton3919
Cannon3872
Clay37112
Unicoi3672
Lewis3522
Scott3324
Sequatchie3294
Stewart3117
Meigs2965
Pickett2495
Moore2452
Perry2081
Van Buren1911
Hancock1123

Community Events