Mar 8 2017

Today, U.S. Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) reintroduced legislation to identify solutions for areas across the country that lack sufficient severe weather detection. Representative Robert Pittenger (R-NC) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives. This legislation would direct the National Weather Service (NWS) to study areas of the country, including the Charlotte metropolitan area, with inadequate weather radar and develop a plan to improve radar coverage. Last December, the Senate passed the similar legislation unanimously.
“We have made a lot of progress on this issue, but the weather radar covering the Charlotte area is still dangerously deficient.” said Senator Burr. “I’m hopeful we can pass this legislation again in the Senate and I look forward to working with Representative Pittenger to get it passed in the House.”
“We know big storms and wildfires can have a serious impact on our lives and communities,” said Senator Cantwell. “Unlike Western Washington, there is a large Doppler radar gap just east of the Cascades. Okanogan, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Kittitas and Yakima Counties have areas lacking critical Doppler radar coverage. Better weather forecasting means first responders can better protect human life and property. This bill is the first step toward filling the gaps in weather radar that leave areas, like central Washington, with blind spots.”
“This legislation to study areas of the country with inadequate severe weather detection, including the Charlotte metropolitan region, is important to the safety of citizens across the country who live without quality radar coverage,” said Senator Tillis. “I want to thank Senator Burr and Representative Pittenger for their tireless work to solve this problem that directly affects thousands of North Carolinians, and I urge the House and Senate to swiftly pass this bill so we can give all Americans more accurate warning when severe weather is approaching.”
“The National Weather Service has repeatedly missed signs of developing tornadoes, or issued inaccurate warnings, due to the lack of adequate radar coverage in Charlotte,” said Representative Pittenger. “Fortunately, we have not yet suffered fatalities, but we shouldn’t wait for tragedy to act.  Far too many lives are at risk for a problem the federal government can easily address, as Charlotte is the largest metropolitan region in the country without local Doppler radar.