Congressman Robert Pittenger

Representing the 9th District of North Carolina
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Pittenger testifies on need for improved weather radar in Charlotte

Mar 2, 2017
Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

CONGRESSMAN PITTENGER TESTIFIES BEFORE HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NEED FOR IMPROVED WEATHER RADAR COVERAGE IN CHARLOTTE

 

WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, Congressman Robert Pittenger (NC-09) testified before a House subcommittee on the need for improved National Weather Service radar coverage in the Charlotte region.  Wednesday’s powerful thunderstorms were another reminder of the critical need to provide local meteorologists better tools to track severe weather in our community. 

Click here for full video of Congressman Pittenger’s testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Congressman Pittenger asked the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science to include language in this year’s appropriations legislation requiring the Commerce Secretary to study radar coverage gaps in Charlotte and other areas, and quickly develop a plan to fix the deficiencies.

This is just one part of Congressman Pittenger’s two-year effort, in partnership with Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), to eliminate a National Weather Service “radar gap” in the Charlotte area.  Next week, Congressman Pittenger will introduce legislation requiring similar action by the Commerce Secretary, meaning the effort will move forward on two fronts. 

Currently, Charlotte is the largest city in the United States without local National Weather Service Doppler radar coverage.  Technically, the city is covered by NWS radar near Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C., but meteorologists say those signals are too high up in the atmosphere by the time they reach Charlotte to provide consistently reliable data.

As a result, the National Weather Service missed signs of a developing tornado in 2012 and didn’t issue a warning until 10 minutes after that tornado injured residents in northeast Charlotte.  The inadequate radar coverage also resulted in a warning for the wrong neighborhood in 2013, and no warning when a tornado struck Union County in December 2015.

 

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