Doppler Radar

Reading the Doppler Radar

Doppler Radar is centered just south of the Boise airport. It continuously sends a scan up into the clouds that's set to bounce off rain, snow, and hail. In a blink of an eye the scan returns to a computer.

We color the precipitation to identify the intensity of the storms. Going from light to heavy the colors are, light blue, light green, dark green, orange, red, dark red, purple.

Warnings are colored boxes that show up and mean severe weather is happening now. Seek shelter if you live inside or around the box.

Yellow is a Severe Thunderstorm Warning with large hail and damaging winds possible.
Red is a Tornado Warning.
Green is a Flash Flood Warning with possible rock slides, mud slides, and flooding along creeks and rivers.

Symbols to look for are diamonds which represent hail being detected in the storm. If there is triangle that's a tornado signature in the storm.

Sometimes there will be a thin long line of light to dark blue away from the main precipitation. Mainly from thunderstorms this is wind.

Down burst winds from thunderstorms can move down through the Treasure Valley miles away from the storm that caused it. Winds between 45 and 75 mph are sometimes possible when the sun is shining!

On clear sunny days sometimes the radar is full with what looks like rain. This is chaff. The airforce will send tiny metallic paper like substances into the atmosphere to throw off radars during operations. It's not harmful to humans or the environment.