A systematic and objective approach was used to optimize the siting of the individual radars forming the Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) network. Prime consideration was given to meteorological factors, in conjunction with the user agencies' needs and the population distribution. The latter was assessed by a novel technique using weather satellite photographs showing urban illumination at night. Priority coverage areas were identified for population centers based on the expected paths of storms and their travel speeds. Radar viewing of the priority coverage areas down to low altitudes is needed so that approaching storms can be detected and warnings issued as early as possible. Other siting criteria taken into account included consideration of terrain features and local obstructions, locations of airways and civilian and military airports, electromagnetic interference, and integration of NEXRAD data into the national weather system.

The methodology for selecting the network is described. Environmental impacts and costs of site acquisition and preparation were also involved in the study, but are not discussed in this paper.

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