Legislation that could eventually lead to changes in National Weather Service radar coverage in the Charlotte area has been approved in Congress. The House Tuesday approved an amendment that requires the federal government to study gaps in its network of NEXRAD Doppler radars.
Critics including Congressman Robert Pittenger of Charlotte say the nearest Weather Service radar - in Greer, South Carolina - is too far away to reliably detect severe weather including tornadoes. "We shouldn't wait for tragedy to act," Pittenger told House colleagues. He urged support for the legislation which he said requires the U.S. Commerce Department to identify weak radar coverage areas and identify solutions to the problem.
The legislation approved in the House yesterday is now headed to President Trump's desk, as part of a larger bill aimed at improving weather research and forecasting. The amendment supported by Pittenger is not as strongly-worded as a bill he filed two years ago. It would have required the Weather Service to install a new Doppler radar near Charlotte, or any other city with a metro area population of more than 700,00. Pittenger says his ultimate goal remains the same.