SAN JOSE (KRON) — Inside the dome on top of the Penitencia Water Treatment plant in San Jose is first permanent x-band weather radar system in the Bay Area.
“The radar system that you see up there is collecting crucial data as we speak,” said Norma Camacho, CEO of Valley Water. “
Camacho joined the San Francisco P.U.C., Sonoma Water and other partners in unveiling the new system, which will improve weather forecasting across the region.
“To respond to climate change, this is what’s needed to go into this new space — walking together and coming up with solutions that span across not one sector, but all,” said Michael Anderson, climatologist with the California Department of Water Resources.
Forecasting rainfall during powerful atmospheric river-type storms can be a challenge due to the complex terrain in the Bay Area. The X-Band can better see what’s happening closer to the ground.
“These gaps that we talk about in radar coverage are because our National Weather Service Radar sits up at 1,500, 2,000 feet on Mt. Umunhum,” said Brian Garcia with the National Weather Service. “With that, we are overshooting, or essentially missing, the low level information. So these radars being at a lower elevation will pick up a lot of that information, so it will fill in those gaps that we’re not seeing.”
The X-Band will help communities prepare for extreme weather by providing data that will help water and reservoir managers, flood and emergency responders in their decision making.
“And that helps with this whole concept of situational awareness,” said Robert Cifelli with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
He said the radar will provide more of a heads up on weather data.