Amarillo National Weather Service puts new radar to the test

AMARILLO, Texas - The winter weather is giving the Amarillo National Weather Center a good opportunity to test out its new dual polarization doppler radar equipment.

When using it, meteorologists can better predict what type of winter weather the panhandle is dealing with and lets them see what is happening with both a horizontal and vertical signal. When the panhandle has a mix of weather, like sleet and snow, they can better predict what different areas will experience.

"This is fantastic with mixed precipitation because we have all these new products that can distinguish... Is it heavy snow? Is it wet snow... dry snow? Is it ice crystals up in the clouds? Or is it a mixture of rain and snow... or actually rain? Senior Forecaster Michael Scotten said.

Because it helps meteorologists better predict the weather, it helps school districts decide if it is okay to send their school buses out and helps people prepare for driving on the roads.

The radar is the first of its kind in the panhandle and can monitor what is going on as far north as Guymon and as far south as Lubbock.