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U.S. House approves money for Doppler radar

By Staff
From Staff Reports
Nov. 15, 2001
WASHINGTON U.S. House members gave final approval Wednesday to a proposal that would pay expenses to move a Doppler weather radar system from the Coast to Rankin County.
National Weather Service officials said the radar system would provide better weather coverage for Meridian, Lauderdale County and East Mississippi.
Jim Stefkovich, meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service in Jackson, called the House approval great news.
House members voted 411-15 for an appropriations bill that would earmark $3.1 million for the radar. The proposal awaits a vote in the U.S. Senate; if approved, it would head to the president for his signature.
Better weather radar
Doppler radar is a highly sensitive system that allows meteorologists to see motion within storm systems and offer more accurate forecasts of severe weather and tornadoes.
Leaders have talked for years about improving weather radar coverage in East Mississippi.
Interest increased in December 2000, when a tornado struck Dalewood and Russell communities injuring 20 people and damaging 100 structures.
National Weather Service officials blamed the miss on human error. But, they said, a Doppler radar system in Rankin County could lead to better forecasting.
The Weather Service wants to take the the Doppler radar system used for training at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi and install it possibly near Brandon.
Project costs millions
Dismantling the radar at Keesler and installing it in Brandon would take about three months. Weather Service officials estimate the cost at between $2 million and $4 million.
U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering, the 3rd District Republican who represents the Meridian and Lauderdale County area, said he was pleased with the House vote.
Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith praised Pickering for his work on the project.