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Volume 32, Issue 3

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Tuesday, 20 November 2007 23:54

Real Time Doppler Radar: A Community Approach

Written by  Gerald L. Rockower

No one in Syracuse and Central New York will forget the powerful storm that swept through the region on the morning of Labor Day, 1998. In less than 20 minutes the storm left in its wake thousands of customers without electric service, hundreds of homes damaged and destroyed and a tragic loss of life for two workers at the New York State Fairgrounds.Like many other essential service providers, Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation, the local utility, relied on the National Weather Service's NEXRAD system to track storms as they moved through the region.NEXRAD provides an accurate but limited picture of approaching weather. The system depends on three Doppler radar units located in Binghamton, Buffalo and on the Tug Hill Plateau east of Lake Ontario. Syracuse is on the fringe of each of the Doppler ranges. Because radar beams travel in a straight line and the earth is curved, at distances of