That radar, a WSR-88D model, is the most powerful one tasked with scanning the skies in northern Virginia, central Maryland, the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, and the District. It’s part of a network of 159 such Doppler radars nationwide maintained by the National Weather Service. Each radar emits high frequency pulses of energy, a portion of which bounce off precipitation targets and offer valuable information from inside a storm.
While the radar is down, forecasters will rely on airport radars and Weather Service radars at adjacent offices in State College, Pa., Pittsburgh, Mount Holly, N.J., Wakefield, Va., Dover, Blacksburg, Va., and Charleston.
This network of radars can stitch together a reasonable representation of storm surveys.
The region has some of the best radar coverage in the country thanks to four smaller, less powerful “terminal” radars at the three major airports, Dulles, Reagan National and BWI Marshall, as well as