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BLIND SPOT – RADAR GAP – MODERATE SNOW THIS MORNING March 28, 2011

Posted by mikeheard in Uncategorized.
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On KBZK/KXLF TV we show you and discuss the radar gap frequently and is one of the most frustrating aspects about predicting weather here in SW Montana.

A classic example occurred this morning between Butte and Bozeman. On radar absolutely NOTHING is shown to emphasize the intensity of the snow. Here is a picture of the NWS radar and a close up radar shot from the Storm Tracker Weather computer.

NWS Radar at 8:30am March 28, 2011

STORMTRACKER Doppler Radar at 8:15am March 28, 2011

Ok, now look at web cam pictures from the ICAM network and MDOT network over the mountain passes.

Bozeman ICAM March 28th, 2011

MDOT Bozeman Pass 8:30am March 28, 2011

My backyard, up to 3″ of snow in most areas I measured and a few 4″ measurements as well.

Distance between radar sites is great. Billings NWS to Great Falls NWS to Missoula NWS to Pocatello, ID NWS are the 4 nexrad 88D radar sites that cover SW Montana. The problem is the vast distance. As a radar beam travels away from it’s origin the higher and higher the beam travels. The other hurtle is the numerous mountain ranges that block the lowest radar beams.

So what do we use to offset this radar gap, satellite imagery and surface observations with the numerous web cameras.

Enhanced Infra Red Satellite Image

Analyzing the above infra red satellite image you can see a very small area of red and pink over northern Gallatin County. The colors tell us that the cloud tops are rather high and the thus there is more moisture within that region. I find it amazing that such a small wave of moisture can dump that much moisture.

I measured 3″ to 4″ of snow around 8:30am this morning on my deck.

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