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National Weather Service upgrades to sharpen forecasting

By RANDALL DICKERSON
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - National Weather Service radar sites in Tennessee are being upgraded to provide more information faster to forecasters.

The upgrade is already on line at the Memphis forecast office and is being installed soon at the weather service offices in Nashville and Morristown.

While it has several improved capabilities, the major advantage will be important in the spring tornado season. The "dual pole" radar can spot flying debris that would show NWS forecasters a tornado has touched down. Previous radar scans showed only rotation that could indicate a funnel cloud aloft.

The new system can also differentiate among rain, snow, hail and sleet. It also gives a more accurate view of how much precipitation is falling and has fallen, allowing meteorologists to sharpen flash flood watches and warnings.

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