Friday, January 26, 2007

SMOKE ON THE RADAR


If you were watching CBS 46 News Today at 6 pm (Friday, January 26), you no doubt saw the horrible apartment fire burning in DeKalb county near Pine Lake. We first got word of it at
5:30 pm and when we went on the air at 6, firefighters were battling to put it out. Thankfully, no one was hurt and because the winds were not gusty as they were on Thursday, so the wind didn't cause the fire to spread. Most of the smoke plume rose straight up in the air and then drifted to the northeast because of prevailing southwesterly winds.

Not surprisingly, the smoke was captured by our First Track 3-D radar. We usually use this sophisticated technology to track storms, but today it was able to see the smoke:


You see, the radar beam shoots out and up into the atmosphere and if any part of the beam is deflected back to the radar, the radar can measure the strength of the return. During a heavy rainstorm, a good part of the beam bounces back off the raindrops and we can tell there's a lot of rain. However, today, parts of the beam detected that there was something over Stone Mountain. That something was the smoke and ash rising from the fire down below. The signature only lasted for about an hour and then it was gone. Once the fire was out and the smoke dissipated, there was nothing left to see on the radar display.

No comments: