Recently the Engineering Research Center for the Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA Engineering Research Center) installed the fifth of eight planned weather radars in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas. This newest radar was installed in Johnson County, Texas. The new radar network, which offers higher resolution data and potentially earlier warning of severe weather, is being installed by a consortium of government agencies, universities, and industry partners that was initially funded by a 10-year, $40-million grant from the National Science Foundation. The radar units look at weather patterns near the ground where severe rain or wind develop first. Link to news story: Burleson Star.
Experts say the system will allow an additional five to 20 minutes of early warning when severe weather strikes.
Read entire Burleson Star article:
CASA radar now reality
POSTED: 08/09/2014 08:00:59 AM CDT
Johnson County on Wednesday became owner of a shiny new Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere radar weather alert system.
Celebrated with dozens of county officials and a ribbon cutting, the new CASA radar is one of a group of eight planned for strategic locations around the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The eight radars each work within a 25-mile radius and in concert with each other.
According to a map drawn by the Engineering Research Center for CASA at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, two radars are planned for Tarrant County, one each for Denton, Ellis and Dallas counties and one on the border of Denton, Collin and Dallas counties.
Installed by St. Louis-based EWT Weather Radar, the radar at the Emergency Operations Center in Cleburne is the fifth to be installed in DFW's CASA Urban Test Bed. Dallas-Fort Worth is the first region in the United States with the all-new technology, which is able to forecast severe weather situations much more quickly than traditional radar systems.
The system has been tested in rural Oklahoma for several years, and a more urbanized area in Texas was the next logical place to bring CASA radar, said Brenda Philips, with the CASA engineering center.
"This is a special occasion, especially for Johnson County," Johnson County Judge Roger Harmon said.
Mark Fox, the warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, said the use of CASA radar systems will help prepare North Texas residents for impending dangerous weather before it hits.
He said that had the radars been in place during the May 15, 2013, storm that hit Granbury and Cleburne, residents would have had a few more minutes' notice of the tornadic activity.
"The only step next is to get some rain so we can get this tested out," Fox said.
County officials say they are excited about the opportunity to have the radar in place, as well as the possibility of being able to warn the county's 160,000 residents in a more timely manner.
The radar will develop high-resolution maps of current and future atmospheric conditions while focusing on the lower atmosphere to "detect and forecast severe wind, tornado, hail, ice and flash flood hazards," according to the UMass CASA website.
This means that not only will residents be safer, but emergency responders as well, said Jamie Moore, county emergency management coordinator.
"This is the next generation of weather technology and we have it right here in Johnson County," he said. (October 2014)