New radar will help meteorologists better forecast tornadoes and other severe weather in southern Sask.

Picture of Bethune weather station courtesy Environment Canada.

Meteorologists in southern Saskatchewan are a month away from having a new state of the art weather radar at their finger tips.

Much like the new radar at Radisson, this one being installed at Bethune will give forecasters much more insight into the living sky’s over Saskatchewan .

Environment Canada’s Terri Lang, said the new radar has two main features that will help them forecast even the most severe and unpredictable weather.

“Number one is the Doppler capabilities of the new radar are essentially doubled,” Lang said. “So we’re going from Doppler capabilities of 120 kilometers per hour to 240 kilometers per hour,” she added.

Lang said that is very important when it comes to predicting when and where a tornado will touch down.

“Doppler capabilities allow forecasters to see how the wind is changing through the atmosphere. The number one thing this is most important for is the detection of tornadoes, and we saw a lot of that this summer, that tornado warnings were issued based on the fact that the forecasters could see the clouds rotating, so that’s a really important feature,” said Lang.

The second feature is dual polarization, which means the radar can see both horizontally and vertically.

“What that does is it allows the forecasters to better define what is falling in terms of precipitation, is it a hailstone, is it a snowflake, or a large raindrop, that type of thing,” Lang said.

The new radar is expected to be fully functional by the end of September.

The two radars (Radisson and Bethune) are the first of their kind in Canada.


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