Why Forecasts Are Getting Cloudier

Plans to overhaul the National Weather Service are so far behind schedule that the U.S. could lose its capacity to see -- and warn of -- the approach of dangerous storms

The National Weather Service's new $3 million radar outpost in Norman, Okla., proved its worth on its first day of operation last March. That evening a series of thunderheads rolled across the southern Oklahoma hill country. One storm cell appeared -- at least on conventional radar -- to be relatively benign. But not to Nexrad (for Next Generation Radar), a new detection system that is powerful enough to track a swarm of insects moving across a wheatfield 50 km (30 miles) away. The domed instrument peered into the swirling winds and raindrops inside the clouds and saw a tornado aborning. The...

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