Timelapse: Storm Rolls Onto Hilton Head

I took some opportunities this past weekend to get my feet really wet with the GoPro’s time-lapse shooting capability. Here’s a couple hours of shots watching the skies ahead of a potent evening thunderstorm on Hilton Head Island.

In Brief Weather

Dual-polarization radar is worth its weight in gold

Tornado debris signature on April 28, 2014 in SE Tennesee.
Tornado debris signature as seen by the Hytop, AL radar (KHTX) on the night of April 28, 2014. Clockwise from left: Base reflectivity, storm relative velocity, correlation coefficient, differential reflectivity (ZDR). Tornado debris signature is where the “debris ball” of high reflectivity (reds and pinks) colocate with the strong velocity couplet (reds and yellows next to greens in the velocity image), the drop in correlation coefficient (blue circle) and ZDR (gray areas).

Dan Satterfield: NWS Weather Radar Upgrade Proving Wildly Successful

Dual-polarization is a new thing, but I sure don’t know how I or anyone else confidently interpreted radar without it. There is little doubt that the confidence dual-pol products lend to warning forecasters and broadcast meteorologists conveying those critical messages saved a lot of lives on April 28. (Unfortunately, 36 people have died as a result of the outbreak, so there is still plenty of work to be done.)


Two years ago today

I miss the Shuttle.

In Pictures

Howl at the Moon

Full moon -- known as "supermoon" -- as seen from my vantage point west of the Ashley River in Charleston, SC. Tonight is as close as we'll get to the moon this year.
Full moon — known as “supermoon” — as seen from my vantage point west of the Ashley River in Charleston, SC. Tonight is as close as we’ll get to the moon this year.
In Pictures Weather

It’s cool to be getting a few scans of live Level II dual-pol data from the Charleston radar site tonight, presumably as testing continues on the upgrade. This particular screenshot shows the Correlation Coefficient product, which essentially helps a radar operator identify what’s precipitation and what isn’t. One way meteorologists use the CC product (called RHO in GR2Analyst due to its roots in mathematics) is to help identify possible debris signatures associated with severe storms (including tornadoes) (warning: PDF).

Note to my fellow weather nerds and enthusiasts: While it’s fun to look at, this data needs calibration and won’t be reliable until NWS says it’s live. You also won’t see it in RadarScope or GRLevel3 (2.x) until that time. Stick with Columbia, Wilmington, and the other surrounding radars for now.

For more, take a look at NWS Charleston’s Facebook post earlier Sunday.