Alabama Meteorologists Work to Close Tornado Radar Gap in West Alabama

TUSTALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) – There is nothing scarier than seeing a tornado because there is no weather radar. That’s exactly the situation in western Alabama, where meteorologists call a “tornado void.”

Case in point; Anita Rembert of Demopolis died more than a year ago during a storm.

According to Melissa Dove, installing another weather radar in this part of west Alabama in or near Wilcox County would be a godsend.

“That’s going to be the ticket. Getting the funding for the radar is going to be the ticket to fix it all and we’re going to get more and more accurate information,” Wilcox County EMA Director Melissa Dove said.

“And just to the southwest of our coverage area, we’ll certainly see what’s moving in our direction,” WBRC Chief Meteorologist Wes Wyatt said.

Such a movement is underway.

Public efforts are underway to implement it. A $1.4 million radar that destroys the middle of space. The rings indicate acceptable radar coverage.

The group met Tuesday afternoon in Wilcox County, which included federal and local EMA leaders along with WSFA Chief Meteorologist Josh Johnson.

Meet the West Alabama Weather Radar(WBRC)
Meet the West Alabama Weather Radar
Meet the West Alabama Weather Radar(WBRC)

“We’re trying to get money from the federal government for disaster mitigation. We have to match it with $350,000, but we think we can do it,” Dove said.

“No one is denying that it saves lives,” Johnson said.

It takes time to install the new radar, which is located on an 80-foot tower, depending on the terrain. The right people from Washington down to the state and local levels need to be on board. The idea seems to be catching on.

“If we can put the radar out there, then everybody has access to the data,” said Bob Baron of Baron Radar. Baron’s company will build a new radar tower if the money comes in.

Regarding the timetable, there is cautious optimism that the new radar will be there a year from now.


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