Mobile weather radar in Hawaii for 1st time

By Justin Fujioka
Published On: Dec 24 2013 08:21:08 AM HST
Updated On: Oct 28 2013 06:10:55 AM HST

A mobile weather radar is on Oahu for three weeks to map Hawaii's skies for improved weather tracking.

HONOLULU -

A vehicle driving around Oahu over the next three weeks will have its eyes on the skies.

Click here to watch Justin Fujioka's report.

Four fixed Doppler sites across Hawaii generate all those colors we see on a weather radar map. They send out pulses of energy that bounce off objects, like raindrops, telling us the size and shape of them and how hard they're falling, along with wind direction and speed.

There's a vehicle that gets that information from anywhere, even blind spots the fixed radars cannot see. It's a Doppler on Wheels, and it's in Hawaii for the first time.

"We're going to take it around the island to many different sites and look at weather on the windward side and the leeward side and try and get a good handle on what's happening here in Hawaii," said Michael Bell, a meteorology professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

The vehicle is one of just three worldwide and it's on Oahu for three weeks, not just for scientists, but also for students and children to learn more about radars.

Bell said, "They give us a lot of information about the type of rainfall, the wind, also navigation information. So, sometimes the truck has to get away from bad weather and so that information is also there."

"It's a very high-tech radar. I would love to have one here permanently."

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