Radar Mysteries

I received a phone call this week asking why there are two “blobs” persistently present on the Mayville Doppler Radar in Steele and Barnes counties. Those two areas the caller was referring to are wind farms. Although on-air and on our website we try to mask the so called ground clutter on the images we present, those two distinct areas are almost always present on the raw images found on the National Weather Service website and even occasionally on our images.

Wind towers are quite high, reaching 80 feet or higher on the landscape. If placed close enough to a radar site, the moving blades are detected as false precipitation echoes bouncing back to the radar. Given the right atmospheric conditions, other wind farms in our area can also be detected. All across the Great Plains, wind farms can be observed on radar, but because these areas are known by meteorologists they should not cause any problems with storm analysis.



3 Responses

  1. Robert V Sobczak

    Interesting, I wonder if they affect the weather for real, especially at a large scale … or by causing dead spots down wind.

  2. DDtwc

    These are far two small to affect the weather in any way, shape or form. On the San Antonio NWS NEXRAD radar you commonly see the massive evening bat migration. On other radars in the South you can see the daily bird migrations each morning. Quite impressive. The NWS is working on software enhancements to mask these new features out similar to how they have done cities, mountains or other known physical features. In Wisc there are wind farms now detected by the Milwaukee NWS NEXRAD, too.

  3. Daryl Ritchison

    I would agree with DDtwc in the analysis that they are too small to really influence the weather any. But they are an annoyance on the radars, especially in the plains, although, even out east they are becoming more common aspects to radar meteorology.

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