New radar technology will help meteorologist detect storms twice as fast

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by Steve Templeton / 4 Warn Chief Meteorologist and Ruella Rouf / KMOV.com

KMOV.com

Posted on June 20, 2014 at 5:31 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 20 at 5:35 PM

(KMOV.com) -- A new radar technology could save lives when severe storms threaten.

The change in radar technology helps meteorologists detect circulations and potential tornadoes twice as fast. The new development is aimed at giving an extra update at the lowest level radar scan, where most quick hitting tornadoes develop.

A low level scan is especially important in the St. Louis area because squall line tornadoes that form and fall apart within minutes or even seconds are common.  Supplemental Adaptive Intra-Volume Low-Level Scan or “SAILS” will provide quicker radar updates—about every two minutes during storm mode.

The old way of scanning the skies provided a low level scan every four to five minutes because the radar scanned from the lowest level and tilted up to higher level, then a higher level and so on.  A total radar scan required an update every four to five minutes.

This new technology is a more refined way of using the radar technology already in place to help deliver warnings quickly and see developing circulations. The new system was put in place this week.​

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