Mobile Doppler unit helps meteorologists track storms
Updated: 11/10/2011 6:31 pm | Published: 11/10/2011 12:29 pm
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Another winter storm is forecasted for the weekend and that's exactly the kind of news some University of Utah students want to hear. But they don't plan to play in the rain or snow, for them this weekend will be all business.
You may have seen a truck like this on t-v chasing down tornadoes in Oklahoma, for a few more weeks it will be cahsing down winter storms in Utah. This is the DOW 6, DOW stands for Doppler on Wheels. This is different from a lot of radars you typically see that are fixed in the ground. This one you can drive right into the center of the storm.
And that's exactly what professor Jim Steenburgh and his students intend to do. This weekend he'll set up the DOW so it can look up Little Cottonwood Canyon and see what's happening in the Cottonwoods and all along the Wasatch Mountains.
The DOW uses dual pol radar technology which allows meteorologists to see not just rain and snow but also the shapes of the snowflakes. Professor Steenburgh says it's like giving the winter storm a meteorological CAT scan.
Professor Steenburgh says it's the coolest thing he's ever done as a professor, allowing students to decide where the radar is going to scan and how to view the storm is an incredible opportunity.
The DOW collected unprecidented lake effect data from our last storm and they're hoping for more this weekend.
Some students from tornado alley hasn't had this kind of hands on experience before with radar.
It may not get great gas mileage, it's not comfortable for long trips but it provides invaluable data and experience for meteorologists trying to get a handle on our constantly changing weather.
The DOW will be in Utah until November 21st.
Copyright 2011 Newport Television LLC All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.