Once the conditions appear favorable for the development of severe weather, meteorologists turn their eyes to the skies and to the radar screens. The development of Doppler radar has greatly enhanced our ability to see what goes on inside a severe thunderstorm. More than a hundred Doppler radar sites are currently operational around the United States.
Doppler radar plays a vital role in the prediction and detection of severe weather, especially when the National Weather Service must determine when and where to issue severe weather warnings. This section provides a close-up examination of the radar signatures associated with six of the tornadoes that occurred on April 19, 1996.
6:10pm CDT (4/19/96) - LSX radar reflectivities show the hook echo associated with the tornadic supercell near Jacksonville, Illinois.
Radar velocities show the mesocyclone embedded in the Jacksonville supercell. The neighboring green and red pixels are a likely indicator of the mesocyclone circulation.