Apr 8, 2013 4:22 PM by Meteorologist Juan Acuña
CORPUS CHRISTI - For the first time in more than 15-years the doppler radar for the National Weather Service here in Corpus Christi is being upgraded.
If you have ever driven by the Corpus Christi International Airport, you have undoubtedly seen the big soccer or volleyball-looking structure near the highway.
It's this unique structure that houses the 88D Radar and is a crucial tool to help meteorologists scan the skies and help detect severe weather outbreaks.
One of the biggest upgrades to the system, called Dual-Polarization or Dual-Pol, gives forecasters more of a 3D look to the skies.
Officials with the National Weather Service say this upgrade will help forecasters distinguish rainfall from other objects in the sky.
John Metz, Warning Coordinator Meteorologist, NWS Corpus Christi said, "This new radar upgrade will allow us to see raindrops in three dimensions. Not just raindrops but other parameters, anything that's in the sky in the atmosphere that's falling from a thunderstorms, debris from a tornado, different types of ice crystals or hail stones that are in the sky."
With hurricane season around the corner, the new upgrade will give forecasters a clearer picture of just how much rain is falling in terms of intensity and rate to help with flash flooding scenarios and affect how and when severe weather watches or warnings are issued.
Here are a few more details: The Dual-Pol radar is currently undergoing an intense 18-hour test today to be sure all the components are running properly. If all goes well, the system will be up and fully operational by tomorrow. The Corpus Christi radar is one of last sites to be upgraded in the country.