Reprinted fromSR/SSD 97-4
Weather Bureau Topics October 19581-15-97

Technical Attachment


Favorable action has been taken by the Congress on the Weather Bureau request for funds to operate the first group of the new WSR-57 radars. These units are expected to become available in the latter part of this fiscal year. The Regional Administrative Offices are actively working on all matters connected with the installation of this new equipment. Special effort will be made to try to complete the installation along the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts before July 1, 1959, so as to provide improved coastal radar coverage during the 1959 hurricane season. Installations in the interior of the United States will follow, although, if unexpected installation problems come up at coastal stations, it may not be possible to follow these installation priorities exactly.

In general, we hope to have continuous coverage of the equipment by specially trained radar operators at each station where these radars are installed, as well as to provide a Station Electronics Specialist. The establishment of this program in the Weather Bureau presents a unique employment opportunity for personnel who are interested in getting into this field which has of late assumed such importance in the Bureau's Severe Storm and Flash Flood Warning Programs, and which holds such a bright future in connection with plans for modernization of the Bureau's services.

Initially, the positions will be established at the GS-9 grade, in both the Meteorologist and Meteorological Technician series. Tentative plans have been made for a four weeks' training course at the University of Miami, and it is hoped that five semester hours of credit will be given for this training.

The WSR-57 radar is the latest and most modern weather radar in the world. It will be equipped with photographic equipment intended to obtain data for research and climatology, and the radar operators will be expected to conduct local projects in applied and operational research so as to improve their skill in radar interpretation and warning. Each set of the equipment will cost about $125,000 installed. The radar has two receivers, one having linear gain characteristics and the other logarithmic. The purpose of the "log" receiver is to improve the usefulness of the equipment for the quantitative measurement of precipitation, and in connection with this feature additional special photographic equipment will be included to assist in the estimation of the amount and distribution of precipitation. The radar will be so sensitive and powerful that we expect to see many clear-air phenomena such as pressure-jumps. The range of the equipment will be 250 nautical miles and it will be equipped with RBI, PPI, off-center PPI, and A&R scopes.

During severe storm situations, the duty will be arduous and have great responsibility attached to it. Much of the radar operation will be conducted in darkened rooms so that the radar display can be clearly seen. In general, the duty will demand employees who have the ability to think clearly and act decisively in emergency situations, and to whom continuous duty of this nature will be challenging and not an excessive mental strain. Prospects for the future in this field are bright when we consider that we are only beginning to gain knowledge and experience in the wide variety of fields where we expect this equipment to serve.

A list of the stations expected to get the new radar equipment is contained in Memorandum 0-4.23 dated June 26, 1958, "New Observational Equipment." Employees wishing more information about these new job opportunities may obtain copies of the job description from their respective Regional Offices. It is expected that large-scale recruitment will begin toward the latter part of this fiscal year.