The current National Weather Service radars were implemented in 1988, and now they are all seeing a major upgrade. Starting on Monday, the National Weather Service Jackson radar in Brandon will go offline to complete an upgrade to dual polarization, also known as dual-pol. This upgrade will provide more information to Weather Service meteorologists and the public.
Mike Edmonston, senior meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson, explains, "With dual-pol, we'll be transmitting and receiving not only in the horizontal, but also in the vertical; that's why we call it dual-pol, because now we're getting horizontal and vertical transmitted and received information. That's going to help us improve hopefully our products and warnings."
The new information that will be provided by the radar should give meteorologists more confidence to issue warnings sooner, and hopefully save more lives.
"It will definitely help us improve our warnings and maybe improve our lead times by giving us more information about what this storm is actually doing or what its actually capable of doing, so that will give us increased confidence to put out a warning maybe even earlier than we would make the decision to warn on a storm," says Edmonston.
The inconvenience of the Brandon radar being offline will not mean there is no radar coverage for east central Mississippi.
"We'll be able to see it with surrounding radars," says Edmonston. "Even though the Brandon radar will be down, there's other radars that will be able to cover the area in case some of it gets severe or in case it leads to additional flooding."
The upgrade is expected to take about a week. While the Brandon radar is down, the Columbus Air Force Base radar in Greenwood Springs will provide primary radar coverage to east Mississippi.