How To Read Weather Radar

Some people may get confused or hesitant about how to read weather radar reports, but it is very simple to do so. Radar actually means Radio Detection and Ranging. The weather radar imagery covers most of the weather activities so it is most accurate. Here is how to read the weather radar screens:

  1. Weather radar maps are readily available online. Access a weather broadcast website or you can tune in a weather TV station. Most of the time you would want to know what the weather would be in your city, so locate your city on the map showed on the screen. Before reading all the green, yellow or red coded areas, find the city you are interested to find weather information. Once you have located the city, you can then go on reading the codes.
  2. Weather radars appear in colors to indicate precipitations. Determine the color codes first before actually reading the weather radar map. Green code color indicates lesser precipitation while the yellow color code indicates intense precipitations. The color code red is indicative of the most intense precipitations.
  3. Before getting further in reading the weather radar map, always check the date stamp, which appears usually on the bottom of the screen. You might get the wrong information on reading a past weather radar screen map if you do not check on the date stamp. Misinformation will give you a huge disadvantage. If you did not read the updated weather forecasts, chances are you will be bringing your jacket with you in a hot and humid weather.
  4. If you are watching a video of the weather radar screen, you will notice some lines shaped like clouds moving back and forth from one side of the screen to the other. This is indicating the direction of the wind where it is blowing. It usually indicates how fast the wind is going and from which side of the compass it is coming from.
  5. If the forecast predicts a storm, you will notice the clouds forming a spiral shape with a clear “center.” That cloud formation indicates a depression area or a storm forming in the atmosphere. It will have arrows that will point out the direction it is going to which is usually Northwest. The density of the cloud formation would tell you how big the storm is and what cities will be affected in its course.
  6. The weather radar can point out the temperatures for certain cities. In the television version, they usually label the temperature. It can be in a table form or they just use letter codes. The most user friendly codes used in the forecasts right now are the graphic codes. When you see a “sun” it can mean the forecast is sunny and the color code with this graphic is usually in yellow or red for a more intensified heat temperature. If the precipitation is cloudy, the graphic shown is of course, a cloud. The color code associated with this is usually the color green. If it predicts rain, the graphic shown is a cloud with droplets coming out of it. A graphic of a lightning will be included if the forecast is a thunderstorm.

The weather can be unpredictable but the technology nowadays almost captures the most accurate weather forecast. But you should always remember that there is unpredictability in weather patterns. You should be monitoring the weather radar often if you want to be always updated.


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