by Ben Posey
The City of Fort Worth was the next location in North Central Texas to add state-of-the-art Collaborative Adapting Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) weather radar to help spot tornadoes and flash floods. Crews installed a CASA radar this past Friday at 5801 Boat Club Road near Lake Worth. The new radar will provide lifesaving data earlier than radars currently in use.
Smaller and less expensive than the NEXRAD radar used by the National Weather Service, these R2-D2 look-alikes focus on the parts of the atmosphere that the long-range NEXRAD radar often overlooks. And the CASA units update every minute, compared with four or more minutes for the NEXRAD radar.
“CASA is higher resolution, and it shows what’s going on down low, where the real weather is happening,” said Amanda Everly, project manager for CASA with the North Central Texas Council of Governments, which is overseeing the project in Dallas-Fort Worth.
While NEXRAD can monitor weather conditions more than 200 miles out, the CASAs are limited to about 25 miles in any direction, so an area like Dallas-Fort Worth needs multiple radar installations.
The Fort Worth CASA radar is the sixth radar to be added to the existing 5-radar network. Other CASA radars currently installed are located at the University of Texas, Arlington, the cities of Midlothian, Addison and Cleburne, and at University of North Texas. A 7th radar is planned for Mesquite. The project is a collaboration among CASA, the North Central Texas Council of Governments, local jurisdictions, and private industry. Each CASA radar unit costs about $500,000 each.
“Our ultimate goal is to have 16 to 20 of these radars covering our 16-county region so we can detect and forecast severe weather earlier,” said Amanda Everly of the City of Fort Worth Office of Emergency Management, which is organizing the project locally.