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New NWS RIDGE Radar Display Available Nationwide

(February 22, 2006) -- The New RIDGE radar display is now available at 122 National Weather Service forecast office web sites nationwide. It may also be found on 33 Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Defense web sites. RIDGE is the acronym for Radar Integrated Display with Geospatial Elements. It allows the NWS to combine radar and warning imagery with commonly used topographical and map features for display on the sites.

Utilizing Doppler radar information, the RIDGE radar display was developed in the National Weather Service Southern Region in cooperation with the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG). The SRH staff noticed the Council was using polygon warnings from the local NWS Weather Forecast Office as map overlays for use by NCTCOG members. It was clear the concept could be developed to provide a much more efficient method of displaying radar images for the general public.

Currently, RIDGE Radar allows users to overlay the latest radar images and warning polygons over local maps displaying topographical features, roads, rivers, cities and county boundaries. The display also includes the distance between a specific location and the developing weather, as well as the ability to view an animated loop showing direction and velocity. The new system not only provides enhanced images, it helps the user understand exactly where they are located in relation to the storm system. The radar and polygon warning images, combined with the other elements, provide citizens with a heightened level of situational awareness that can help to save lives and reduce property damage.

The images are in a GIF format common to all Internet browsers. Anyone with Internet access and a need to view weather radar information can easily use this product. Whether viewing the static or looped image, users can select from the range of overlays by checking the boxes below the display. Following initial testing and evaluation in the north Texas area, RIDGE Radar was made available on NWS web sites throughout the Southern Region and has now expanded to NWS offices across the nation. For more information, please visit http://www.srh.noaa.gov/jetstream/remote/doppler.htm

The RIDGE Radar images also have a world file associated with them. This allows users with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to overlay the images on any other customized map.

"The benefits and appreciation by our partners and users have literally been stunning," said Bill Proenza, director of the National Weather Service Southern Region. "For example, the emergency management community has expressed high praise for its greatly expanded applicability and functionality."

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