National Weather Service gets big upgrade in Morristown

MORRISTOWN, Tenn. (WVLT) -- You may have noticed warnings about dangerous storms have gotten a lot more accurate. That's due in part to improvements to the National Weather Service radar in Morristown.

Radar is an important tool we use to show you what the weather is, where its been and where it's going. Decades before radar, we relied on reports from meteorologists and trained weather spotters.

The old radar was fitted with a lot of new components, helping it to not only see in the horizontal, but the vertical too. And that helps meteorologist tremendously when it comes to severe weather. It's now called a dual polarization radar. Traditional radar sends out only a horizontal signal that bounces off anything it hits, picking up the signal as it returns. That's how it knows where the rain, hail, or even a tornado might be. This new improved radar is more accurate.

Dave Holz is a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Morristown and says, "We can tell much better if these particles are coming down as rainfall, or large hail. Another thing we can see is the type of debris that maybe a tornado is producing."

A tornado will wrap all kinds of stuff around it, like pieces of houses it destroys. This can now be tracked by radar, confirming a tornado.

Dave adds, "You can see some greens, some yellows, and some blues. This definitely represents what we call a tornado debris ball."

Hail can also be destructive. So knowing where it is, how big it is, and where it's going is crucial.

"In this case here, everything that's in red that you notice, is being diagnosed as hail", Dave says.

New improved technology, we use everyday to keep you safe. Mike Simon, VLT Local 8 News.

Join the Conversation!

To comment, the following rules must be followed:

  • No Obscenity, Profanity, Vulgarity, Racism or Violent Descriptions
  • No Negative Community Comparisons
  • No Fighting, Name-calling, or Personal Attacks
  • Multiple Accounts are Not Allowed
  • Stay on Story Topic

Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to Please provide detailed information.

powered by Disqus


6450 Papermill Drive Knoxville, TN 37919 Phone - (865) 450-8888; Fax - (865) 450-8869
Copyright © 2014 WVLT-TV Inc. - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 203283461 -
Gray Television, Inc.