CAMDEN, Tenn. (WKRN) — A potentially life-saving tool is being installed in Benton County. The new Climavision dual-polarization, X-Band weather radar system will be placed on top of the water tower in Camden.
Mayor Mark Ward said the radar will fill the weather coverage gaps between neighboring NEXRAD S-Band radars, helping detect weather events like flash flooding, sleet, ice and tornadoes.
“It’s very important for not only the whole area around us, all the surrounding counties because there’s dead zones between Nashville and Memphis. So, this will give them a whole lot more detailed footage of storms and rain, weather, snow,” Ward told News 2, saying the project has been in the works for more than a year.
The sphere, known as the Radome, housing the x-band radar will be hoisted more than 200 feet to the top of the water tower.
“We are so excited for our county and our region that this gap is being bridged,” said Scott Owens, general manager of Benton County Electric System.
Designed to fill the gaps the current S-band radars don’t, officials say the radar will provide the highest resolution view of what’s happening nearest to the ground, enabling emergency officials like Owens to better plan, prepare and respond to severe weather situations.
“For us, it’s a great safety tool. It’s an early notification tool so we can prepare for what’s coming, rather it be a tornado, straight-line wind event, heavy storms, rains, etc. because typically with all the other emergency departments, we are the first ones to roll to restore power to the citizens,” said Owens.
The radar coverage extends in a 60-mile radius in all directions, benefitting more than just Benton County residents and serving as a valuable life-saving tool.
“It’s also going to benefit all of West Tennessee and even into Middle Tennessee. You know if you think about that beam coming together, the earth is round so right there in that middle you can’t see the ground. You can’t see where the winds are, the rotations, tornadoes, etc.”
Climavision’s CEO said they recently installed their first Tennessee radar near Crossville, providing earlier detection and insight as dangerous weather moves into East Tennessee. They hope to have 35 radars operational by the end of the year, covering low-level gaps in various areas of the country.
Ward said they hope to lift the weather radar in the coming days, but that’s all weather dependent. The system is then expected to be operational within four to six weeks with EMA and government officials receiving access to the real-time data.
The data collected by Climavision isn’t available to everyone, but they offer subscription services.