Congressman Robert Pittenger

Representing the 9th District of North Carolina
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Pittenger introduces Doppler radar legislation

Sep 17, 2015
Press Release





WASHINGTON – Charlotte is the largest metropolitan area in the United States without a National Weather Service Doppler radar facility.  Technically, the Charlotte region is covered by radar in Greenville-Spartanburg, but those signals are too weak to provide adequate coverage by the time they reach Charlotte.

As a result, National Weather Service missed signs of a developing tornado in 2012 and didn’t issue a warning until 10 minutes after that tornado damaged a neighborhood in northeast Charlotte.  The inadequate radar coverage also resulted in a warning for the wrong neighborhood in 2013.

On Thursday, Congressman Robert Pittenger (NC-09) introduced the Metropolitan Weather Hazards Protection Act (H.R. 3538), which will require a National Weather Service Doppler radar facility in any metropolitan area of 700,000 or more.

“Politics should never trump safety,” said Congressman Pittenger.  “This legislation removes politics from the placement of National Weather Service radar facilities with common sense standards to make sure radar facilities follow the population, not the powerful politician.”

  • The Metropolitan Weather Hazards Protection Act is based solely on population and is not specific to Charlotte.  Additional cities would be covered as their population grows.
  • The National Weather Service would be required to have an operational Doppler radar facility in Charlotte within 450 days of the bill becoming law.
  • Each radar facility would cost approximately $15 million, which will be fully offset by trimming waste elsewhere in the budget.

Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced companion legislation in the Senate on Thursday.  Greensboro Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12) joined Congressman Pittenger as a co-sponsor of the legislation this afternoon.