It’s mobile radar to the rescue, and not a moment too soon.
This is the story of how a moving research radar will be helping the Lake Charles, Louisiana, National Weather Service (NWS) outpost, whose radar was broken during Hurricane Laura.
The Lake Charles NWS office and radar are both located at the Lake Charles Regional Airport, which also took a significant hit during Laura.
The radar dome sits on top of an over 60-foot tower, and since wind speeds are often stronger the higher you go up, this likely led to its demise.
The problem is, the radar equipment is still not fixed, and another hurricane arrived Friday night in the the same area of Louisiana.
Normally, when one radar site goes out, other nearby NWS offices can step in since many radar sites overlap a little.
“We have multiple radars to use, including one in Houston, Fort Polk, and Slidell,” said Roger Erickson, Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the Lake Charles NWS Office.
But those neighboring radars don’t cover the entire area, so what do you do about the gaps left behind?
“For this hurricane, we will have a portable doppler radar as well,” Erickson added.
A mobile radar, that is primarily used for research has been deployed to Louisiana to help fill in those gaps, and also provide high resolution, low-level data as well.
“In this particular case, the Shared Mobile Atmospheric Research and Teaching (SMART) Radar is here to enhance the existing