The new dual polarization upgrade to National Weather Service Doppler Radars is already showing some benefits. It has been picking up hail quite nicely and now we have an example of it detecting a smoke plume in our area well. On May 21st, a prescribed burn was in progress in the Necedah Wildlife Refuge. A large smoke plume drifted southeast from the site and the La Crosse NWS radar detected it. They used one of the new tools that dual-polarization offers, called correlation coefficient. Different types of particles such as rain, hail, and smoke have typical values associated with them. You can see an animated loop of the smoke plume being detected on dual-pol radar from this link. http://www.crh.noaa.gov/news/display_cmsstory.php?wfo=arx&storyid=83326&source=0
RECORD WARM SPRING IN PROGRESS
Through May 22nd, spring 2012 has been the warmest on record for much of the region. The average temperature so far for Wausau is 49.3 degrees, beating the old warmest 1977 when it was 47.9 degrees. The 3rd warmest spring in Wausau is from 1998 with an average of 46.7 degrees. Green Bay is also having its warmest. Spring 2012 in Rhinelander has been the second warmest on record as 44.9 degrees. This is just behing the average from 1977 when it was 45.5 degrees. Let’s hope we get a decent amount of rain the rest of spring to go along with that warmth!