Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Local News

March 6, 2013

Burleson fire chief touts weather radar system


Two separate 2012 storm events in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex cost the area more than $2 billion in damage.

A wave of tornadoes and storms from April 2-4 resulted in at least 21 tornado touchdowns, with more than 1,100 homes damaged, and 110 planes damaged by hail at DFW International Airport. Less than three months later, June 11-13, another wave of storms hit, bringing up to baseball-sized hail in Dallas and Grand Prairie and golf-ball-sized hail throughout the region resulting in more than 100,000 insurance claims being filed.

With the spring storm season looming large, the possibility for a repeat runs high.

But a new weather radar system called CASA — Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere — could give forecasters a more precise idea of what and where weather conditions actually are and provide it sooner than the doppler radar systems now in use in North Texas, Burleson Fire Chief Gary A. Wisdom told the city council on Monday.

Burleson, along with Johnson County and other cities in the county, have the chance to be out in front of the weather wave of the future, Wisdom said.

Wisdom said the new CASA system is “the cutting edge of weather radar that will eventually replace doppler completely.” 

He said the CASA system targets low altitude weather conditions, where tornadoes generally occur, much more accurately than doppler, and that CASA produces images at a higher resolution.

Wisdom said, the CASA systems recycle much more quickly. While doppler systems take five minutes to do a complete sweep and give forecasters an updated view, CASA systems can actually be focused to track a specific storm cell.

The first of the new CASA radar systems in the Metroplex was installed at the University of Texas at Arlington last October and the second will be installed soon at the University of North Texas Discovery Park in Denton. The next two scheduled for installation after that will be in Addison and northwest Fort Worth.

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