Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Interpreting Weather Radar

Radar Map Interpretation:

The radar map in this posting is from the evening of August 3, 2010 and centered on the state of Nebraska.


The areas of precipitation are shown in color with the lightest precipitation being green, moderate precipitation being yellow and the more intense precipitation colored red.

Movement (direction and speed):

The blue arrows show the direction (movement) of the precipitation with the speed (in knots) indicated at the end of the arrow. One knot = 1.15 mph. For example, 25 knots = 28.8 miles per hour

Height of the clouds:

The numbers in blue with a line underneath indicate the height of the tops of the clouds. Add two zeros to the number to get the height in feet. For example, the 600 near Lincoln indicates that the cloud is 600+00 = 60,000 feet in height.


The radar will also indicate when there is hail observed in the cloud and "HAIL" is noted along side the cloud height.


If the radar detects a circulation within the cloud that is a precursor to a tornado, that is, it could build downward to the ground to form a tornado, a TVS is indicated on the map. TVS means a
"tornado vortex signature". Tornado warnings can be issued based upon this information. That is, a tornado does not have to be on the ground to alert the public that a potential tornado could occur at any moment.

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