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Weather radar upgrades dedicated in NLR

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was originally published October 3, 2012 at 11:13 a.m. Updated October 3, 2012 at 11:26 a.m.


The National Weather Service radar in North Little Rock was first installed in the early 1990s but recently received upgrades that will improve local forecasts, officials said at a dedication ceremony Wednesday.

Weather Service dedicates Doppler upgrades

The National Weather Service on Wednesday dedicated improvements made to its Doppler radar that will result in better forecasts, officials said. (By Gavin Lesnick)
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U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor and U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin speak Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, at a dedication ceremony for upgrades to the National Weather Service ra...

— U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin and U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor joined officials from the National Weather Service in North Little Rock on Wednesday to dedicate new technological upgrades to the agency's Doppler radar that will result in improved forecasts for the region.

Officials at the event say the dual-polarization radar has the potential to save lives by offering increased lead-time for dangerous storms like tornadoes.

"We live and die with information," said David Maxwell, the director of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. "The better information we can get, the better we can serve the citizens of Arkansas."

Griffin and Pryor applauded the improvement that cost about $225,000.

Griffin said the upgrades could garner "big savings" if the increased accuracy from the radar results in better preparation ahead of a damaging storm.

"We all know that severe weather is deadly," Griffin said. "It's that simple. ... It affects the whole state."

The improvements to the radar, which sits atop a four-story tower across the street from the weather service office by the North Little Rock Airport, include new software and hardware that allows for higher resolution images. That means it can be used to confirm tornadoes, even at night, based on debris clouds or detect icing conditions or birds that might be hazardous to aircraft, Pryor's office said.

Margaret Spring, principal deputy undersecretary the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said during the dedication that identical technology has already paid dividends in other places. She said a dual-polarization radar in Springfield got an early detection of a tornado that was headed for Branson.

"They got word to Branson 25 minutes before the tornado arrived, which is double the national average," she said.

Little Rock's weather service office serves more than 1.5 million people in 45 counties.

Read more in tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.


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Displaying 1 - 3 of 3 total comments

balzerjohn05111230 says... October 3, 2012 at 12:23 p.m.

When is Pryor going to issue a statement about how an IRS investigation into tax fraud concerning his family suddenly went bye-bye? Millions owed and where did the money go? Why is Pryor's wife making multiple trips to the Cayman Islands? We have made note of all the non-conroversial, blue-sky initiatives the Senator likes to promote in a self-grandizing swagger. Don't take my word for it. Visit the retirepryor website.

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rainbowharold55 says... October 3, 2012 at 2:22 p.m.

BOTH Republican Senators! We are so blessed!

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Jjackk says... October 3, 2012 at 2:49 p.m.

"The IRS is billing two trucking company executives $2.8 million for unpaid employment taxes owed by Continental Express Inc., a Little Rock, Ark., company they headed but did not own. The tax bills went to Ralph Bradbury, the company president, and Pete Campbell, the vice president, who had died, in October of last year. Campbell’s widow received the bill on the day of his funeral. Bradbury has argued to the IRS that the Harveys and their financial adviser, Marvin Jones, are responsible for the taxes, which have since been reduced to $800,000.

The wife of Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., is the daughter of the company's owners, Ed and Bonnie Harvey, according to Arkansas Business.

Pryor spokesman Michael Teague said, “This office, nor Sen. Pryor, has dealings with Ed Harvey’s business decisions. Mark Pryor has made no phone calls, no discussions, no emails, no letters, no meetings, nothing with the IRS in regards to this issue or anything Ed Harvey does.”"

So, I would consider that a statement, why don't you?

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