[ exact phrase in "" • results by date ]

[ Google-powered • results by relevance ]


News Home

Subscribe to RSS feed

Add NWW headlines to your site (click here)

Sign up for daily updates

Keep Wind Watch online and independent!

Donate $10

Donate $5

Selected Documents

All Documents

Research Links


Press Releases


Publications & Products

Photos & Graphics


Allied Groups

Strange radar images on Grand Rapids, Michigan Doppler radar  

Credit:  George Lessens | WZZM | May 15, 2013 | www.wzzm13.com ~~

During the late evening hours on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 some strange images appeared on the Grand Rapids NWS Doppler radar. What were they?

Doppler radar is a valuable tool meteorologists use to track weather phenomena throughout the United States. Covering West Michigan, the National Weather Service (NWS) Doppler radar located near the G.R. Ford airport in Kentwood usually detects precipitation – like rain and snow, but sometimes it shows some rather ‘strange’ things, like Tuesday evening.

Starting around 11:15 pm it looked like a large thunderstorm was rapidly developing over southwest Mason County, south of Ludington. Doppler radar also indicated there might have been wind shear or rotation in that storm. The radar echo intrigued me when that ‘thunderstorm’ didn’t move – it remained stationary for 75-90 minutes. That’s when I remembered: wind turbines!

Consumers Energy’s newly-installed wind turbines went on-line in late November, 2012 but Doppler radar hasn’t ‘seen’ them until now, because it took a special set of weather circumstances Tuesday night.

Under normal conditions, any wavelength of energy – sunlight, radio waves, TV signals, radar beams, etc. travels in a straight line. Since the Earth is round, eventually these wavelengths can no longer be ‘seen’ beyond the horizon. That’s why you usually can’t see a boat five miles offshore in Lake Michigan or listen to a West Michigan radio station in Iowa.

So how could Doppler radar see wind turbines nearly 85 miles away with the height of the radar beam normally around 7000 feet? The answer: an ‘inversion’, defined as rapidly changing temperatures with height. This phenomenon caused the radar beam to bend – or refract downwards, following the curvature of the Earth then and reflect the radar signal off the moving wind turbines back to the radar.

I’m sure there will be other ‘strange’ radar images in the future, but trust your experienced local meteorologist- like me, to explain what you are seeing.

Source:  George Lessens | WZZM | May 15, 2013 | www.wzzm13.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding
Donate $5 PayPal Donate


News Watch Home

Get the Facts Follow Wind Watch on Twitter

Wind Watch on Facebook


© National Wind Watch, Inc.
Use of copyrighted material adheres to Fair Use.
"Wind Watch" is a registered trademark.