Congressman Robert Pittenger

Representing the 9th District of North Carolina
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Pittenger introduces bill to improve Charlotte weather radar

Mar 8, 2017
Press Release



Senators Burr & Tillis Introduce Companion Senate Legislation


WASHINGTON – Charlotte is the largest metropolitan area in the United States without local National Weather Service Doppler radar coverage.  Today, Congressman Robert Pittenger (NC-09) introduced legislation (H.R. 1427) requiring the Commerce Secretary to analyze this “radar gap” and develop a solution. 

“In 2012, the National Weather Service missed signs of a developing tornado and didn’t issue a warning until 10 minutes after that tornado snatched a boy from his bed and tossed him onto the side of I-485.  Thankfully, the boy survived.  During last week’s storms, the false alarm rate for tornado warnings was 100 percent.  This erodes trust.  The lack of consistent and reliable radar data for the Charlotte region is serious, and we shouldn’t wait for a tragedy to act,” said Congressman Pittenger.

Technically, the Charlotte region is covered by NWS radar near Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C., but meteorologists says those signals are too high up in the atmosphere by the time they reach Charlotte to produce consistently reliable data.  This resulted in the missed tornado in 2012, another missed tornado in Union County in 2015, warnings for the wrong neighborhood in 2013, and the 100 percent “false alarm” rate during last week’s storms.

Congressman Pittenger’s legislation (H.R. 1427) requires the Commerce Secretary to study radar coverage gaps in Charlotte and other areas of the United States, and quickly develop a plan to fix the deficiencies.  This follows a similar request made through the appropriations process last week, meaning this issue will move forward on two fronts in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Today, Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced bipartisan companion legislation in the United States Senate. 

Congressman Pittenger and Senator Burr have been working together since 2015 to find a solution to the Charlotte “radar gap.”  Legislative efforts in 2016 received strong support from the U.S. Senate, House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science, and the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.