A large group of storm chasers with the National Science Foundation stopped in Altus Sunday afternoon after monitoring the strong storms that passed through the area on Saturday. The vehicles above are “Doppler and Wheels” radar trucks. These truck-mounted radar dishes are often used to chase tornadic activity across the midwest. The portable “X-band polarimetric Doppler radar” system was developed originally for studying tornadoes. The truck’s radar emits and receives radio waves horizontally and vertically. This provides more information than radars used by the National Weather Service, which plans to upgrade to the new radars in the next few years. The DOW radar can distinguish the size and shape of snowflakes and raindrops in a storm, can collect data on lower-elevation valley locations and can park closer to storms and thus get more detail. The storms that passed through Oklahoma Saturday produced hail up to 2 inches in diameter, wind gusts up to 75 mph and filled the skies with lightning.
-Altus Times photos by Michael Bush