When an ice storm hit the Triangle area in December 2002, thousands of
homes lost power. Worse, utility trucks were slowed in their efforts to
restore power because many were located outside the affected area and
couldn't travel on ice-covered roads. A better ability to predict ice
storms could've put the trucks where they were most needed before the
ice hit and resulted in a quicker restoration of essential services.
RENCI has deployed a Mobile Micro Rain Radar (M²R²) - one of only six in
the U.S - to improve ice storm prediction. The radar detects precipitation
in the atmosphere and how high above the ground that precipitation will
freeze - the freezing line. Above the freezing line, precipitation is
frozen, and how close to the surface that line is determines whether
precipitation falls as rain, freezing rain, sleet or snow. The radar also
can be used to accurately predict rain rates - how fast rain is falling -
during severe storms.
M²R² is mobile enough to move as conditions demand, but will likely spend
much time in the western Piedmont area, the part of North Carolina most
frequently hit by ice storms. It gives the National Weather Service and
other users a needed data point in that area and helps in determining
where and when ice is likely to hit. The radar data is collected by an
on-site computer and transferred via a cell phone network to a RENCI
server and then displayed on a website. The system updates in minutes
and can be accessed from the Web by forecasters, planners, utility
companies, rescue workers and government officials.
- 24.1 GHz. Outputs 50 miliwatts of power.
- System consists of a 2-foot antenna dish, radar, receiver unit,
and an RS-232 data transmission interface.
- System is mounted on a trailer for transport so it can easily be
moved based on approaching weather conditions.
- Collects drop size distribution
- Derives fall velocity and reflectivity.
- Data is transmitted to RENCI in real time and posted for download.
For more information, please contact Jessica Proud