New radar helping improve weather data for northwestern Indiana

Purdue's radar was installed in June. It's 30 mile coverage radius will help provide Tippecanoe and surrounding counties with more accurate weather data in real time.

Posted: Oct 29, 2018 6:38 PM
Updated: Oct 30, 2018 8:44 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Northwestern Indiana now has a new way to receive weather data. The region sits in an area where weather data can be spotty.

Indianapolis and Chicago are the nearest cities with a major weather radar. That's a span of nearly 200 miles. Such distance between radar sites can lead to inaccurate data.

Purdue's new radar is helping bring more accurate weather data to northwestern Indiana. The distance between major radar sites nearby can create inaccurate readings. Radar beams are angled upward in order to read the atmosphere.

According to Radar Meteorologist Robin Tanamachi, this is due to earth's curvature. As the beams spread, the data is collected from higher within the atmosphere. "We're missing all kinds of sensible weather that's going on between that level and the surface. This includes things like tornadoes and microbursts,” said Tanamachi.

The radar has a coverage area of 50 kilometers. That's around 30 miles. "That's really filling the gap that the weather service's radars offer,” said Tanamachi.

But the radar is more than just providing accurate information. Tanamachi hopes it will be utilized by the public to make real time decisions. "They can take that data and use it to make better decisions about events and whether they should proceed whether they should be delayed,” said Tanamachi.

Real time data is accessible online for free here: http://weather.eaps.purdue.edu/xtrra/xtrra.html

Past observed data can also be purchased. 

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