New radar could give hour warning for tornadoes

Posted at 8:26 AM, Apr 12, 2016

Researchers are working on new radar technology that could warn people of a tornado an hour before it hits.

According to the National Weather Service, the current average lead time is thirteen minutes.

That could change with a new technology called phased array radar.

"It would potentially allow for entire views of the atmospheric volume within every one minute," said Jessica Schultz, the radar program manager for the National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma. "That rapid update of the whole atmosphere could potentially lead to tornado lead times of upwards of sixty minutes."

The technology is still in the research phase, but some experts believe it could save hundreds of lives each year. 

"Radar is the primary warning tool for forecasters to issue severe weather and hazardous weather detection," Schultz said. "It is of the utmost importance to [have] the latest technology and to continue to develop the science behind it so we can bring the latest research into operation and therefore provide better warnings for everyone."