CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — It'll be difficult pinpointing rain for the next few weeks as the Corpus Christi radar site is down. As a meteorologist, the radar is our eyes, allowing us to see what is happening in the vicinity. So, it'll be frustrating for us too. While we will still be able to get radar information from our neighboring sites in New Braunfels, Brownsville, Houston, and Del Rio, the info will not be as reliable. Back to the eyes reference...if you're near sighted, it would be like you don't have your corrective lenses - kind of.
When a radar sends its beam out to detect if there are any meteorological targets (rain), it is sent out at a slight upward angle. This is to avoid ground clutter (avoiding things like tall buildings). With the nearest radar sites being roughly 150 miles away (that's about as far as you want to be from a radar site to get reliable info) from Corpus Christi, the info we will see displayed over the Coastal Bend will be several miles up in the atmosphere thanks to the beam rising slightly as it gets farther from a radar site, further lowering accuracy. Being closer to New Braunfels and/or Brownsville, locations in the Coastal Bend farther north and more to the south will have better radar coverage while CRP is down, but still not the best.
When looking at your radar app, most of the rain you see depicted on the screen will be from a target 1-3 miles up (depending on your location). That could mean that the rain higher in the atmosphere is there, but doesn't guarantee it is making it to the ground. Radar may also 'miss' shallower activity and it will be raining while nothing is showing up on radar.
Once the radar is back in commission, it'll be much easier to accurately say where rain is and where it is not. Hopefully, we don't have any big rain or thunderstorm events between now and March 23.
- Holt, out