Rain Radar Now

I’ve been playing with Anthony Watts “Storm Predator” software.

He talks about it some in this article:


The web site is here:


It’s just “way cool”.

I’ve set it to ‘total precipitation for this storm’ mode and it’s showing me maps of where particular radars have seen precipitation, summed over time. Just so way cool…

Here are some images (bear in mind that the radar does get less return signal with distance, so sees precipitation better inside it’s maximum range; that’s why one image will ‘fade to low’ at the margin where another image may show more total rain detected. On this image, white is 10 inches, dark red is 5 inches, light red 3, yellow 1.6 inches. Green, light to dark, are 0.7, 1 inch, 1.3 inches. Dark blue is 0.4 inch.

Total Precipitation near Santa Clara this storm

Total Precipitation near Santa Clara this storm

I’m at the upper edge of that green blob in the middle about where it turns into yellow…

Want to know “What’s happening now?” just swap to “Base Reflectivity” mode and see the clouds / rain now. I’m under that angry rain dollop…

Santa Clara Base Reflectivity 19 Dec 2010

Santa Clara Base Reflectivity 19 Dec 2010

Here’s a view from where Anthony is located in Chico. Dark blue 0.8 inch, greens 1, 1.5, 2 inch light to dark. Yellow 2.5 inch, dirty yellow 3 inches, orange 4 inches, reds 5, 6, 8 inch. Magenta 10, purple 12 and white 15 inches:

Chico Total Precipitation this storm

Chico Total Precipitation this storm

He’s getting off easy… But the hills up around Paradise and above Lake Oroville are just getting soaked! I like the way you can see where the mountains cut off the areas behind them.

Going down the valley a little further, here’s our state capital at Sacramento. Red 8 inches, light green 1 inch:

Sacramento Total Precipitation This Storm

Sacramento Total Precipitation This Storm

Not too bad, but the hills are clearly getting the worst of it. Again. The dark green is 2 inches, the white is 10 inches. Don’t know why the legend didn’t get saved with the picture. Oh Well, haven’t played with it much yet, probably something I have to set.

So then we slide on down to Fresno and can see that Mammoth Mountain is just getting soaked! For some reason on this image dark red is 5 inches, white is 10 inches. The three greens are 1/2, 1 inch, and 1.5 inches from light to dark:

A view of total precipitation in the South Central Valley from Fresno

A view of total precipitation in the South Central Valley from Fresno

Oh, I probably ought to say something about the LA basin ;-)

Here’s the “Long Range Base” setting showing they are getting a bit of rain too:

San Diego LR Base 19 Dec 2010

San Diego LR Base 19 Dec 2010

So I can check on how my family and friends down there are doing. Looks like they’re getting it as they are under that yellow blob.

In Conclusion

So I’ve just barely “opened the box” on this gadget and it’s like Christmas already… (What? You expected me to wait? 8-)

Don’t know exactly what all I’ll use it for, other than being nosey about just what any given storm is doing, or saving myself from waiting for an hour for The Weather Channel to tell me what California weather is expected to be. Why wait when I can just see what’s coming?

At any rate, it’s a fun toy, and I like it.

Oh, and you can see the whole country at once if you like:

National Radar 19 December 2010

National Radar 19 December 2010

Just in case you live somewhere other than California and are actually aware that there are places other than California and “Back East” is not just something on the MGM “back lot” ;-)

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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13 Responses to Rain Radar Now

  1. Ralph B says:

    Looks like Zyrtec and Claritin will have a good year…

  2. Milwaukee Bob says:

    E.M., If I send you empty jars, will you fill them and send them back to us here in Florida?

  3. Jeff Alberts says:

    “I’m at the upper edge of that green blob in the middle about where it turns into yellow… ”

    The blob under the Monterey label or the blob under the San Jose label? My Grandmother used to live in Capitola, My sister lives in Aptos.

  4. Jeff Alberts says:

    “Oh it never rains in Southern California…”

  5. Anthony Watts says:

    Thanks very much for the kind words. This program is the largest selling program of its type, partly because as you’ve discovered, we made it fun and educational to use.

    Fun and educational is what I strive for at WUWT too, which is why it is the most viewed venue of its type.

    If you watch the TV show Storm Chasers on Discovery channel, you’ll occasionally catch a glimpse of this program on a laptop.

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    @Milwaukee Bob:

    If you pay shipping and the handling charge of $1 / jar. Please send 100,000 per year ;-)

    @Jeff Alberts:

    The one at San Jose near the Santa Clara Airport area where the graph “originates”. We visit Capitola and Aptos but it’s a ‘drive over the hill’ and not something to be done when storms like this often close Hwy 17 / 880. In other words, I’d have to drive south from that “little green blob” over that cental angry red blob to get to that bigger green blob at Santa Cruz… Somehow it’s a lot more clear to just look at that red blob on top of the Santa Cruz mountains and know I’m not wanting to drive in it ;-)


    You liked that one, eh? Maybe some slow day when I’m not already 10 articles behind I’ll duplicate it here ;-)

    @Anthony Watts:

    They may be “kind words” but they are also simply the truth. Fired it up and was instantly addicted.

    “Fun and educational” – what a concept! And that’s exactly what it is and exactly why I wrote what I wrote.

    But, for now I gotta go… the “weather report” is saying this is a “lull” in the storm and I need to use my radar station to see how long a lull and what hits us when it gets here ;-)

  7. George says:

    San Luis Obispo is just getting hammered.


  8. Chuckles says:

    You’ve got some nasty stuff floating round there E.M., there’s really no need for this ‘solidarity’ stuff with Europe. Tell the weather to shape up and behave.
    -6C and dropping here in Huntingdonshire with more white stuff apparently on the way, so I think I’d prefer the rain…

    Accuweather certainly don’t like the look of things out your way though –


  9. Verity Jones says:

    “If you watch the TV show Storm Chasers on Discovery channel, you’ll occasionally catch a glimpse of this program on a laptop.”

    Ha! We just happen to be watching Storm Chasers as I read this.

    Looks great but highly addictive. I’ve spent the last few days checking the UK Met Office radar for snow showers. It only updates every 30 minutes.

    We’re in a frost hollow despite being in the suburbs. Outdoor sensor read min -20.3 Celsius last night. Max today was -5.4. I don’t think it has been above zero since Thursday. Our ‘vulnerable pipes’ are wrapped with a ribbon light which is generating enough heat to ensure they don’t freeze this time.

    6 inches of snow. Even on main roads we’re driving on ‘snirt’ as it is too cold for salt to help that much. Quite enjoying it all actually.

  10. bulaman says:

    My son is on a Contiki tour at the moment (LA to SF) and is due in SF on Christmas day. He will be wet, frozen and wet again by the look of it! Meanwhile it’s 30 degrees C in the Antipodes…

  11. PhilJourdan says:

    Cool Program!

    Another problem with weather radar is that if the radar is bouncing off local images (a heavy rain) it will have trouble picking up activity farther out. That is why you can see a thunderstorm coming from miles away, but it is hard to see the intensity of rain during a generally heavy rain over a large area for the same distance.

  12. yirgach says:

    Just downloaded and installed the program. I am not happy with the UI. It is rather amateurish and violates just about every law of least surprise in the Windows environment.

    But I will give a chance, for the next 30 days. So far, I don’t see anything worth $50 in here.

    Was hoping for something more than 24 frames of radar playback. And the crippled download version is not something I can really evaluate anyway.

    I’m used to the Wundermap at wunderground, this doesn’t seem any much better.

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