L-3 Helping Weather Service Upgrade DC Area Radar

Photo: NOAA.gov

The National Weather Service‘s radar in the Washington region will soon look in two directions to detect severe weather, the Washington Post reports.

L-3 Communications and Baron Services are upgrading the NWS’ radars around the country.

The Sterling, Va.-based radar will be upgraded by Feb. 24 to include dual polarization technology, which sends radar pulses in both horizontal and vertical directions.

The NWS’ radar currently sends out only horizontal pulses.

The Post reports 160 NWS doppler radars will have dual-polarization ability by May 2013.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the upgrade will give the radar capability to more accurately read precipitation amounts and types.

NOAA says forecasters will also be able to tell the difference between heavy rain and hail.

The radar could increase lead time for severe weather warnings.

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