City of Laredo installs new Doppler Weather Radar

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 5:59 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - With hurricane season upon Texas, it’s important for the community to know ahead of time if any type of severe weather is headed our way.

Today, the City of Laredo installed a new weather radar in town with the hope that this is the first step in filling in the weather radar gap that exists over the Gateway City.

The talks have been going on for many years now, but it was a recent storm that hit our city — that caused damage to many parts of south Laredo— that started conversations again about bringing in a Doppler Weather Radar into Laredo.

The radar would allow faster warnings headed our way.

In speaking with Chief Meteorologist Richard “Heatwave” Berler, he tell us the new Doppler Weather Radar will close the gap within a 60- 80 mile radius.

“We are the least covered city of a 200,000 population or greater in the country. So this would help fill in that information gap,” he says.

Until now, Laredo was depending on a Doppler out of Corpus Christi and Del Rio, but it would only scan 10,000 feet above the ground.

Heatwave says this is not good enough. “You’re seeing the top 30 or 40,000 feet of those storms, but you’re not seeing the lower 10,000 feet which is of course where we are — in the lower 10,000 feet.”

That means the lower 10,000 feet —where Laredo lies— would not get an as accurate forecast.

Fire department officials say having data from radars that are, more than 100 miles away, sometimes leaves residents with little time to prepare.

Fire Chief Guillermo Heard recalls a close call. “The storm was almost upon us and we got those high winds and it caused a lot of damage to south Laredo and Nuevo Laredo. With this type of Doppler, it’ll give us an extra 30 minutes to an hour to prepare our community to help mitigate any type of disaster.”

The new system has been placed in the airport’s fire station where its unlikely for the scanning signal to be blocked.

This new Doppler Weather Radar will close the gap within a 60- 80 mile radius.

It measures wind speeds, rainfall, storms and will also cover other counties.

If the system proves to be accurate, city leaders hope to make it a permanent addition to the city.

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