Greater Burke Severe Watches & Warnings NOAA Weather Radio

Public Information Statement
Statement as of 8:43 am EDT on July 24, 2014

...WFO Greenville-Spartanburg installs new radar software...

A new software upgrade for WSR-88D radars...called sails...has been installed on the kgsp WSR-88D. Sails stands for supplemental adaptive intra-volume low level scan. This upgrade will enable the radar to obtain low level scans more frequently during severe weather events where radar sampling is more critical in the lower atmosphere. Previously the WSR-88D scanned the atmosphere at progressively higher angles. These scans would begin at .5 degrees above the horizon and scan as high as 19.5 degrees. With sails activated...the radar inserts an additional .5 degree scan in the middle of the radar's vertical scan. As an example...this additional low level scan can provide critical information to warning meteorologists about developing tornadoes.

NWS meteorologists have the option of defining the scan strategy of the wsr-88d's which means that sails can be activated or de-activated depending on the meteorological situation. In the southeast United States during the Summer months...pulse thunderstorms are the most common severe storm threat and tornadoes are rare. For pulse storms...warning meteorologists depend more on high level scans to analyze storms capable of producing large hail and damaging downburst winds. Hence...sails may not be utilized much during the Summer months. The NWS will notify users through chat and social media when the scan strategy is changed. More information about sails can be obtained at: http://www.Weather.Gov/gsp/sails. If you have Larry gabric...meteorologist in charge WFO gsp at 864-848-9970 x222 or e:mail Larry.Gabric@noaa.Gov.