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Radar Tutorial

Nexrad Dome Image

NEXRAD radar, model WSR-88D, is a monumental improvement over previous generations of radar the National Weather Service (NWS) has been using. The greatest advantage of NEXRAD is its ability to see mesocyclone development (rotation) in the middle levels of a thunderstorm. See Chapter 2.

This tutorial is designed to give the general public a little more knowledge than they currently have about radar images they may see on TV or the Internet. Specifically, it is hoped that someone interested in severe weather spotting for the NWS in the Skywarn Program will come away with enough information about Base Reflectivity Radar to enable use of the images in support of weather spotting.

The reader is cautioned that this discussion will not constitute anything more than a general introduction. There is no replacement for the official reports from the NWS via watches and warnings. Nor should one assume that this will in anyway approximate the kind of training one can receive from university meteorology programs or from your local NWS Skywarn trainer, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist. This tutorial is for non-commercial use.

Part I: NEXRAD Radar 101


Chapter 1: Base Reflectivity: What Your TV Weatherman Never Told You.
Chapter 2: Velocity: Swirling Couplets of Magical Destruction

Part II: Classes of Storms


Chapter 3: Derecho: A Thousand Mile Super Storm

Part III: Case Histories


March 29, 1998 Comfrey/St. Peter Tornado
June 18, 2001 Siren Wisconsin Tornado
May 9, 2004 Elk River
December 16, 2000 Tuscaloosa Alabama
August 13, 2004 Hurricane Charley
Advanced Class Slides: Benson Tornado Genesis, June 11, 2001
Top 10 Minnesota Severe Weather Events


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