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Wilmington, Ohio

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Accessing FAA Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR)

A new radar website from the National Weather Service is allowing access to data from specialized weather radars owned and maintained by FAA, called Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR).  

The National Weather Service in Wilmington, OH, is fortunate to have three of these radars within our area of responsibility at the following locations:
  • Cincinnati11 miles SE of Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
  • Columbus -  9 miles E of Port Columbus International Airport
  • Dayton -  10 miles NE of Dayton International Airport
These radars were installed by the FAA near major airports in response to a number of wind shear induced accidents during the 1970s/1980s.  The radars are highly sensitive to the wind flows in and around thunderstorms, allowing for detection of microbursts and wind shear that in the past has caused fatal traffic accidents. This is made possible by higher temporal (radar scans that occur every minute near the ground when storms are detected by the radar), and spatial resolution (narrower radar beam width) scanning properties in comparison to standard weather radar.

During the late 2000s, a partnership between the NWS and FAA brought this data into NWS forecast offices, allowing NWS meteorologists to use the specialized data in its mission of protecting life and property via Severe Thunderstorm Warnings and Tornado Warnings.  As it turns out, the strengths of the radar for flight safety are also strengths for the detection of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes for the non-flying public as well.

Only recently has this data become more available in the public domain, and via the links on our web page and within this story, you can access this data by licking on the radar of your choice from the blue left-side menu along any of our NWS Wilmington web pages. (see below).

In addition, the National Weather Service in Wilmington is part of a current test to distribute the 1-minute resolution radar data (only when the TDWR is in "Storm Mode - VCP 80") in full temporal resolution. Currently, most TDWRs outside the test are sending data every 6 minutes. Should the test go smoothly, all FAA TDWR data will be sent in full resolution in the near future -- accessible via the new website linked above.


There are a number of products available from each TDWR, as shown in the example images below. Click image for a higher resolution version!





Below is a map of the coverage of these TDWR radars in the Wilmington, OH forecast area. (The forecast areas are denoted by thicker red lines.)  The yellow ring around each radar denotes the extent of the 48nm products.  We are fortunate in that more than 80% of our area is covered by these FAA radars.  Click image for a higher resolution version!


- Seth Binau, Science and Operations Officer (seth.binau@noaa.gov)


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National Weather Service
Wilmington Ohio Weather Forecast Office
1901 South State Route 134
Wilmington, OH 45177
Tel: (937) 383-0031
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Page last modified: May 15, 2012.
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