Federal weather officials have begun installing a significant upgrade to Alabama radar equipment that will allow forecasters to detect a tornado on the ground in some situations.
The Birmingham National Weather Service office in Calera began installation of the new radar Tuesday.
Authorities say with the current Doppler radar system, the weather service has to rely on reports from people on the ground or next-day surveys to confirm tornado touchdowns.
Jim Stefkovich, meteorologist in charge of the Birmingham weather service office, says the radar upgrade will allow forecasters in some conditions to be able to see debris picked up by tornadoes. He tells The Birmingham News that it will help forecasters get more confirmation of tornadoes in the middle of the night, when spotters are not available.
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