From Rutgers via “Rutgers will host NBC’s powerful new weather radar system”

Rutgers University
Rutgers University


February 02, 2017
Adam Clark

NBC’s new StormTracker 4 radar will be on the Rutgers University campus. (Courtesy of NBC)

Rutgers University is now home to the most powerful weather radar system in the tri-state area via a new deal with New York’s NBC 4 station and Telemundo 47, the station announced Thursday.

The new StormTracker 4, powered by one million watts of the “latest, most cutting edge technology,” is owned and operated by the station but located on land it’s leasing at Rutgers’ Cook Campus. The university’s meteorology students will have access to the radar for their classes, according to Rutgers, which has not yet disclosed the terms of the lease.

StormTracker 4 will track storms in real time directly from ground level, providing greater insight on water droplets, hail, sleet, and approaching snow. It can even analyze weather data for a precise street location, according to the station.

The radar can generate 1,000 pulses within the blink of human eye and has a range of 50,000 square miles, NBC said.

“There is nothing like StormTracker 4,” said Janice Huff, the station’s chief meteorologist.

NBC 4 previously used data from the National Weather Service. The new data will offer an important window into the formation of powerful and dangerous weather systems and should provide local residents with extra time to prepare when bad weather looms, Huff said.

Rutgers, which has the state’s only meteorology program that meets federal standards, was selected as the home for StormTracker 4 in part because of its proximity to Manhattan, the university said.

NBC is granting Rutgers’ meteorology students access to the radar imagery to examine it and develop a long-term analysis of climate trends and weather patterns. It will also be used in weather broadcasts produced by RU-TV, the student television station, according to the university.

“We’re excited to give our meteorology students the opportunity to observe the weather as it is developing,” said Anthony J. Broccoli, chair of the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers.

Al Cope, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s regional forecast office in Mount Holly, said it is not yet known whether the weather service will have access to the weather data that comes from the new radar system at Rutgers.

For now, the two primary radar systems used by the Mount Holly office are at the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst military complex in Burlington and Ocean counties and at the Dover Air Force base in Delaware. The weather service’s Upton, N.Y., office, which oversees five counties in northern and eastern New Jersey, primarily uses a radar system based on Long Island.

Those systems are part of a network of radar systems across the United States, Cope said.

“They are quite powerful,” he said.

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