The $3 million project, funded by GOHSEP, will fill a dire need in northeast Louisiana. With the closest Doppler radar systems located in Shreveport and Jackson, Miss., having this resource in the region will improve response times and give forecasters more accurate data.
“This is a big day for ULM and all of northeast Louisiana,” said ULM President Dr. Nick J. Bruno. “We worked with those in Homeland Security, and those within the university, and today we are celebrating the beginning of this process. It will provide state of the art services like no other.”
The radar will serve Caldwell, East Carroll, Franklin, Jackson, Lincoln, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland, Tensas, Union and West Carroll Parishes. The purpose of its placement is to improve emergency preparedness for northeast Louisiana.
The system will be connected to the National Weather Service (NWS) and will supply continuous live weather feeds to emergency centers.
Dr. Anne Case Hanks, ULM atmospheric science program coordinator, explained the necessity of the radar.
“By the time the radar beams from Shreveport and Jackson reach Monroe, we’re looking at the upper part of the atmosphere. Putting this radar in the Monroe area will allow us to see what’s happening closer to the surface, which means better coverage, better data, and hopefully, better lead and warning times when severe weather events occur.”
Students in ULM’s atmospheric science program will also have access to the radar, which will provide hands on experience for those who plan to pursue meteorology.
“Our students will get a chance to operate this machine hands on, which will allow us to offer a radar meteorology class,” continued Case Hanks. “They will learn to operate the radar, analyze the data, and they will learn to forecast. This sets them apart from other students who don’t have access to this kind of equipment. The more that we can provide our students, the better forecasters they will become. This piece of equipment is much needed and much appreciated.”
The radar will be constructed off-site by Enterprise Electronics Corporation, and then delivered to the university property located on HWY 80 in Monroe.
“It took a lot of hard work and collaboration to get where we are today,” said Casey Tingle of GOHSEP. “The information garnered from this machine will allow emergency managers to provide additional and better guidance to government officials as they have to make decisions on behalf of citizens, and to protect both life and property.”
Officials plan to have the radar operational this fall.
To view photos from the event, visit Doppler radar groundbreaking