Tuesday, March 14, 2006

USING RADAR WHEN THERE'S NO RAIN

If you watch CBS 46 Weather, you know we have this powerful tool called First Track 3-D radar. It picks apart storms to show us where the most dangerous winds, hail and possible tornadoes are and where they're going. But did you know it can see other things? Well, today, as I was driving into work, I saw this dark smudge on the horizon. I figured it must have been a big fire and when I got to work, I found out that indeed, there was a big fire in Cobb county. The plume of smoke was visible on our First Track 3-D radar and I recorded this image:



The blue blob is the plume of smoke, circled in white. The arrows indicate the direction of the wind, which was from the northwest. This picture was taken a little after 1 pm, nearly two hours after the fire started. As you can see the smoke cuts across the Brookwood split, where I-75 and I-85 join, just north of downtown. Then the smoke continues into Decatur.

So, even when there isn't any rain out there, the radar beam can see small particles, like dust and show us where they are and where they're moving. Pretty neat, huh?

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