NWS Grand Rapids upgrading radar

The National Weather Service Grand Rapids office. (July 8, 2014)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The National Weather Service’s Grand Rapids office will soon have a new system installed that could better spot the type of tornado that hit the Kentwood area Sunday.

Spin-up tornadoes are tornadoes that quickly form on the ground rather than high in the sky before touching down.

According to the NWS, Sunday’s spin-up tornado gave no warning. By the time it was visible on the radar, it was already dying out.

But by as soon as the end of the week, a new system could be installed at the NWS Grand Rapids’ office that will improve the meteorologists’ ability to spot spin-up tornadoes.

Currently, it takes the radar four minutes to make a sweep. The new system will cut that time in half.

“This storm the other night, instead of two scans that it saw some circulation there, we probably would have had four,” said Bob Dukersherer, the senior forecaster at NWS Grand Rapids. “We might have had a chance to have a little bit of lead time on some of that damage path.”

Dukersherer told 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday that in addition to the new technology, his forecasters will take a hard look at the storm and what happened Sunday, and case studies and postmortems will be performed.

“Tornado warnings are the highest headline that we issue so when we miss one of those, it’s tough on us,” he said.


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