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A Comparison of Tornado Warning Lead Times with and without NEXRAD Doppler Radar

Paul BieringerDepartment of Meteorology, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida

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Peter S. RayDepartment of Meteorology, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida

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Abstract

The installation of the network of NEXRAD (Next Generation Weather Radar) WSR-88D (Weather Surveillance Radar—1988 Doppler) radars has been an ongoing process for more than three years. An assessment is made on how these radars and related changes at National Weather Service Offices have impacted the warning of tornadoes. Tornado warning statistics were employed to evaluate the improvements in warning lead times and detection after the installation of the WSR-88D. In an effort to remove a bias from the warning dataset, the statistics based on the first tornado event of each day were also considered. This early evaluation of the warning capability of these radars indicates an improvement at selected sites over the previous five years.

Abstract

The installation of the network of NEXRAD (Next Generation Weather Radar) WSR-88D (Weather Surveillance Radar—1988 Doppler) radars has been an ongoing process for more than three years. An assessment is made on how these radars and related changes at National Weather Service Offices have impacted the warning of tornadoes. Tornado warning statistics were employed to evaluate the improvements in warning lead times and detection after the installation of the WSR-88D. In an effort to remove a bias from the warning dataset, the statistics based on the first tornado event of each day were also considered. This early evaluation of the warning capability of these radars indicates an improvement at selected sites over the previous five years.

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