Weather service plans radar system revamp

Weather service plans radar system revamp

By Patricia Daukantas

GCN Staff


JULY 17—The National Weather Service is upgrading the data acquisition subsystem of the premier Doppler radar system it uses to track severe storms.

The agency has awarded RS Information Systems Inc. of McLean, Va., a four-year, $29 million contract to help it develop the Open Radar Data Acquisition (ORDA) system, a major component of the Next-Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD).

ORDA will control radar operations and collect basic data on precipitation intensity and storm winds, said Deirdre R. Jones, chief of the Systems Engineering Center at the weather service's Office of Science and Technology.

ORDA is the second NEXRAD component to be upgraded from its original 1980s-era technology to an open-systems model, Jones said. The Open Radar Product Generator, another major subsystem that processes raw radar data before sending it off to the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System, is nearly complete.

Although the service still must fill in many technical details, the new data acquisition subsystem will use digital signal processing technology and probably will run on a Unix platform, Jones said.

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