NSSL deploys mobile radar to help with winter weather forecasts

NO-XP in Colorado
The NO-XP mobile radar deployed in southern Colorado

NSSL deployed the NOAA X-Pol mobile radar in southwestern Colorado over the weekend as part of the Southwest Colorado Radar project to collect data on snowfall in the area.  The project continues through the end of February, 2011.

The NOXP is equipped with dual-polarization technology, which provides detailed information about the water content of snow, providing better estimates of precipitation amounts.   Data from NOXP is being processed through NSSL’s NMQ/Q2 multi-sensor precipitation estimation system.

Forecasters will use the information to enrich their winter weather forecasts.  Local data users include county search and rescue and airport operations.

The mobile radar was also used during the summer phase of the project to demonstrate the potential usefulness of gap-filling radars in rugged terrain.  Southwest Colorado is not optimally observed by surrounding NWS WSR-88D radars due to numerous mountain ranges, leaving uncertainties in surface precipitation rates.

Project sponsors include the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Colorado Division of Emergency Management, Southwestern Water Conservation Board, Durango – La Plata County Airport and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe.