The National Weather Service Forecast Office in Cleveland monitors weather activity 24 hours a day, for Northern Ohio, Northwest Pennsylvania, and Lake Erie with Doppler Radar. Our radar is commonly known as a WSR-88D which stands for Weather Surveillance Radar 88 Doppler. (The 88 represents the year 1988). Another name the radar is commonly referred to is the Nexrad Doppler Radar which stands for Next Generation Doppler Radar. Doppler itself stands for a scientific process involving several different frequencies that the radar uses.
The Doppler Radar System is separated into three components:
This is the most visible portion of the Doppler Radar. The tower stands over 75 feet high. The dish which rotates inside the huge white dome is 20 feet in diameter. A picture of the RDA is located at the top of this page.
The RPG component takes information from the RDA and uses complicated math formulas to produce many different products.
The Cleveland NWS Doppler Radar was commissioned on February 9, 1995 into the Network of Doppler Radars. The radar is only one of two in Ohio and is the first to be commissioned. The other is in Wilmington. Cleveland's Doppler Radar first went into action in August of 1993, when it entered the trial and testing phase. During this phase, the radar was checked for validity of all its products. Test were performed on the rainfall estimator, and wind profiler. The sensitivity of the radar was calibrated. In addition, NWS employees attended classes concerning components of the radar in order to interpret the various doppler products. Commissioning of the radar simply makes the products official, so the Doppler data can be distributed the public. Also, commissioning requires that all radar operators complete the course training and become certified.