Radar dish in county is part of severe weather study
Photo: A University of Illinois truck with a radar dish is shown in Lake Cormorant. (Credit: DeSoto County Government/Facebook)
For the next couple of months, if there’s a threat of severe weather coming to DeSoto County, you might be seeing a truck with a giant rotating dish out and about in the county.
The truck with the large radar dish comes from the University of Illinois and this week was out in the Lake Cormorant area. Wednesday, the truck and dish were on Starlanding Road near Highway 61, where DeSoto County Supervisor President Ray Denison found out it is part of the largest tornado field study in over 10 years.
“We are told the work that is being done here in DeSoto County will help predict tornadoes with more accuracy, which will help improve warnings, and in turn, save lives,” said Denison.
According to Denison and DeSoto County government, the county will be the central spo for the next three months for teams of scientists who will deploy a variety of equipment including mobile radars, uncrewed aerial systems, trucks with instruments attached and different kinds of portable devices designed to measure lightning and the atmosphere within and around storms.
The object of the program called PERiLS, Propagation, Evolution and Rotation in Linear Storms, is to better understand how tornadoes form in squall lines. These types of tornadoes are more common and more deadly in the Southeast, and pose a significant challenge to meteorologists and emergency managers, due to their rapid development.
Researchers from the University of Alabama, University of Oklahoma, Texas Tech, North Carolina State, and the University of Illinois, will pinpoint areas of possible tornado formation and position their equipment to take measurements throughout the duration of the storms.
The researchers will remain in DeSoto County until May 8. They encourage people to say hi and ask questions if you spot a crew in the area. You can learn more about the research on NOAA’s website: https://www.noaa.gov/news-release/severe-storm-research-campaign-kicks-off-second-year-of-data-gathering