HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM)- The abc27 Investigators took concerns about the radar gap in the Midstate to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It declined to go on camera but sent us this 2020 report saying it would answer our questions.
The report identified areas across the country where radar gaps resulted in no warnings being issued by the National Weather Service for tornadoes and flash floods. The abc27 Investigators shared the report with abc27 Meteorologist Dan Tomaso.
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“There’s a lot of general statements in the report but there is no specific data saying Schuylkill County, Lebanon County, York County, Lancaster County which those taxpayers, I think, would be very interested in seeing this problem being fixed,” said Tomaso.
While the report recognized there are areas of poor radar coverage across the nation, it says it was only a “contributing factor for some unwarned events” and the majority of the root causes were “related to human factors”. It goes on to say in areas where there is poor radar coverage other tools, like satellites, should be used.
“The satellite tool does not update as quickly as radar and you still can’t tell what’s going on underneath the clouds necessarily,” said Tomaso.
Like the deadly snow squall on I-81 in Schuylkill County. The weather event happened close to the ground and was also located in the radar gap. No warning was issued. Six people were killed in an 80-vehicle pile-up.
“It is a problem. The radar gap is not going anywhere. It is not changing,” said Tomaso. “We just continually get frustrated every year that a large part of our viewing area, likely the most populated area in our viewing area, is not getting great coverage.”
NOAA’s report did not offer specific solutions to address the radar gap in the Midstate.