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Local NWS Doppler Radar moving, expect better storm detection for Baton Rouge area

3 months 4 weeks 1 day ago Monday, August 09 2021 Aug 9, 2021 August 09, 2021 9:10 AM August 09, 2021 in Weather
Source: WBRZ Weather

The Doppler Radar that covers the Baton Rouge area and southeast Louisiana is moving closer to the Capital City. This will result in better coverage and storm detection for thousands of residents across the region.

The KLIX WSR-88D radar is currently co-located with the local National Weather Service (NWS) in Slidell, LA. At the end of 2022, the radar will be moving approximately 45 miles west to Hammond, LA. During the move, the radar will be down for approximately three months. Surrounding NWS radars in Mobile, Jackson, Fort Polk and Lake Charles, as well as a lower-powered FAA radar near the New Orleans airport will provide coverage and assist with severe weather detection during the move.

In addition to the move, the lowest elevation angle of the radar will be changing. Currently, the lowest elevation angle the radar uses is 0.5 degrees, but after the move, the lowest elevation angle will drop to 0.3 degrees. This change will allow the radar to scan even lower in the atmosphere than it did previously. Sampling lower in the atmosphere allows for better identification of hazardous weather, including tornado formation and microbursts-- which cause severe thunderstorm winds.

For the Capital Area, one big benefit of the move and lower elevation angle sampling will be a dramatically improved view of developing tornadoes and low level winds. These capabilities have been very limited since the current radar network was set up in the mid 90s. The combined effects of moving the radar closer to Baton Rouge and adding a 0.3 degree elevation angle will result in the ability to sample storms at around 300-600 feet elevation over portions of the Baton Rouge metro area. At this time, the lowest sampling across the Baton Rouge area is nearly 10 times as high - around 4000-6000 feet. Radar coverage over portions of New Orleans will be similar or slightly lower than current heights while coverage over the Mississippi coast will remain the same, due to the proximity of the Mobile radar.

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