Radar Coverage in North Dakota to Be Improved After Deadly Tornado

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The National Weather Service is taking steps to improve weather radar coverage for western North Dakota after a deadly tornado in the area raised awareness of gaps in coverage.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has committed to studying whether the Minot radar system can be adjusted to improve coverage in the state’s western region, the Bismarck Tribune reported.
John Hoeven said, “There are other areas where there are some gaps.” “We have to learn how to get them.”

On July 10, a hurricane hit Watford City, killing a newborn baby and wounding two more people. The National Air Service has issued a violent storm warning, but has not given a hurricane warning. Watford City is 140 to 180 miles from the nearest Doppler radar.

If the Doppler radar near Minot is set, it detects storms at a height of 1,200 meters above the ground in Watford City. The radar system can now detect storms that generate at least 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) from the ground.

An environmental work is required to adjust the radar. John Paul Martin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said that the improved coverage could be in the spring.

“We will do it before the next hurricane season,” said Karolin Jappe, emergency director of McKenzie County.

North Dakota meteorologists say that a better radar coverage area could not change the result of Watford City because the hurricane developed quickly and fell under the ground.

“It was like a crazy storm,” Hoeven said, “but we need to get the best warning system on hand.”

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